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About Us
      Worship Services
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      Congregational Meeting
      Lutheran Church-International
      Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
1974 sketch of the church by Karen Stoops, member Zion Lutheran Church
405 Hickory Street ; P.O. Box 68
Montpelier, Ohio 43543
(419) 485-8559
Serving Christ in Northwestern Ohio since 1859

Adopted November 2011
Amended November 2012

Chapter 1:
     Name and Incorporation
Chapter 2:
     Confession of Faith
Chapter 3:
     Nature of the Church
Chapter 4:
     Statement of Purpose
Chapter 5:
     Powers of the Congregation
Chapter 6:
     Church Affiliation
Chapter 7:
     Property Ownership
Chapter 8:
Chapter 9:
     The Pastor
Chapter 10:
     Congregation Meeting
Chapter 11:
Chapter 12:
     Congregation Council
Chapter 13:
     Congregational Committees
Chapter 14:
     Organizations Within the Congregation
Chapter 15:
     Discipline of Members
Chapter 16:
     Concerning Bylaws
Chapter 17:
Chapter 18:
     Concerning Continuing Resoloutions


We, baptized members of the church of Christ, responding in faith to the call of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, desiring to unite together to preach the Word, administer the sacraments, and carry out God's mission, do hereby adopt this constitution and solemnly pledge ourselves to be governed by its provisions. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


Chapter 1.

C1.01 The name of this congregation shall be Zion Lutheran Church, West Jefferson.

a. “Zion Congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church” is recorded as the official name with the State of Ohio.

C1.02. For the purpose of this constitution and the accompanying bylaws, the Zion Evangelical Lutheran congregation is hereinafter designated as "this congregation.

C1.03 This congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio.



Chapter 2.

C2.01 This congregation confesses the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

C2.02 This congregation confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.

a. Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.

b. The proclamation of God's message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.

C2.03. This congregation accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the only authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.

C2.04. This congregation accepts the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this congregation.

C2.05. This congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

C2.06. This congregation accepts the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.

C2.07 This congregation confesses the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God's mission in the world.



Chapter 3.

C3.01. All power in the Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ, its head. All actions of this congregation are to be carried out under his rule and authority.

C3.02. The Church exists both as an inclusive fellowship and as local congregations gathered for worship and Christian service. Congregations find their fulfillment in the universal community of the Church, and the universal Church exists in and through congregations. This church, therefore, derives its character and powers both from the sanction and representation of its congregations and from its inherent nature as an expression of the broader fellowship of the faithful. In length, it acknowledges itself to be in the historic continuity of the communion of saints; in breadth, it expresses the fellowship of believers and congregations in our day.



Chapter 4.

The Church is a people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God's creative, redeeming, and sanctifying activity in the world.

To participate in God's mission, this congregation as a part of the Church shall:

a. Worship God in proclamation of the Word and administration of the sacraments and through lives of prayer, praise thanksgiving, witness, and service.

b. Proclaim God's saving Gospel of justification by grace for Christ's sake through faith alone, according to the apostolic witness in the Holy Scripture, preserving and transmitting the Gospel faithfully to future generations.

c. Carry out Christ's Great Commission by reaching out to all people to bring them to faith in Christ and by doing all ministry with a global awareness consistent with the understanding of God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of all.

d. Serve in response to God's love to meet human needs, caring for the sick and the aged, advocating dignity and justice for all people, working for peace and reconciliation among the nations, and standing with the poor and powerless, and committing itself to their needs.

e. Nurture its members in the Word of God so as to grow in faith and hope and love, to see daily life as the primary setting for the exercise of their Christian calling, and to use the gifts of the Spirit for their life together and for their calling in the world.

f. Manifest the unity given to the people of God by living together in the love of Christ and by joining with other Christians in prayer and action to express and preserve the unity which the Spirit gives.

To fulfill these purposes, this congregation shall:

a. a. Provide services of worship at which the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are administered.

b. Provide pastoral care and assist all members to participate in this ministry.

c. Challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their calling in their daily lives and in their congregation.

d. Teach the Word of God.

e. Witness to the reconciling Word of God in Christ, reaching out to all people.

f. Respond to human need, work for justice and peace, care for the sick and the suffering, and participate responsibly in society.

g. Motivate its members to provide financial support for the congregation's ministry and the ministry of the church at large.

h. Foster and participate in interdependent relationships with other Christian congregations.

i. Foster and participate in ecumenical relationships with organizations who likewise proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

This congregation shall develop an organizational structure to be described in this constitution and bylaws. The Congregation Council shall prepare descriptions of the responsibilities of each committee, task force, or other organizational groups and shall review their actions. [Such description shall be contained in continuing resolutions of the Congregation Council.]



Chapter 5.

The powers of this congregation are those necessary to fulfill its purpose.

The powers of this congregation are vested in the Congregation Meeting called and conducted as provided in this constitution and bylaws.

Only such authority as is delegated to the Congregation Council or other organizational units in the congregation's governing documents is recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the congregation. The congregation is authorized to:

a. call a pastor;

b. terminate the call of a pastor;

c. appoint or terminate the appointment of employees and others serving in ministry;

d. approve the annual budget;

e. acquire real and personal property by gift, devise, purchase, or other lawful means;

f. hold title to and use its property for any and all activities consistent with its purpose;

g. sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its property by any lawful means;

h. elect its Congregation Council, boards, and committees, and require them to carry out their duties in accordance with the constitution, bylaws, and continuing resolutions; and

i. formulate and dissolve relationships with Christian denominations as directed by the Holy Spirit.



Chapter 6.

Affiliation with Christian denominations may be terminated as follows:

a. This congregation takes action to dissolve.

b. This congregation ceases to exist.

c. This congregation follows the procedures outlined in C6.02.

This congregation may terminate its relationship with the Christian Denominations by the following procedure:

a. A resolution indicating the desire of this congregation to terminate its relationship must be adopted at a legally called and conducted special meeting of this congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present.

b. The secretary of this congregation shall mail a copy of the resolution to voting members of the congregation. This notice shall be submitted within 10 days after the resolution has been adopted.

c. During a period of at least 90 days, opportunities for prayerful consideration shall be offered.

d. If this congregation, after prayerful consideration, still desires to terminate its relationship, such action may be taken at a legally called and conducted special meeting by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.

e. A certified copy of the resolution to terminate its relationship shall be sent to the denominational office, at which time the relationship between this congregation and the denomination shall be terminated.



Chapter 7.

The property of this congregation belongs to the members of this congregation.

If this congregation ceases to exist, the property and assets shall be dispersed in such a manner to retire all debts. If there are assets remaining, they shall be sold or donated to persons or organizations in a manner that honors Christ.



Chapter 8.

C8.0 1.
Members of this congregation shall be those baptized persons on the roll of the congregation at the time that this constitution is adopted and those who are admitted thereafter and who have declared and maintain their membership in accordance with the provisions of this constitution and its bylaws.

Members shall be classified as follows:

a. Baptized members are those persons who have been received by the Sacrament of Holy Baptism in this congregation, or, having been previously baptized in the name of the Triune God, have been received by certificate of transfer from other Lutheran congregations or by affirmation of faith.

b. Confirmed members are baptized persons: a) who have been confirmed in this congregation, b) those who have been received by adult baptism or by transfer as confirmed members from other Lutheran congregations, or c) baptized persons received by affirmation of faith.

c. Voting members are confirmed members of this congregation. Such confirmed members shall have communed either privately or publicly with this congregation during the current or preceding year.

d. Associate members are persons holding membership in other Christian congregations who wish to retain such membership but desire to participate in the Iife and mission of this congregation. They have all the privileges and duties of membership except voting rights and eligibility for elected offices or membership on the Congregation Council of this congregation.

All applications for confirmed membership shall be submitted to and shall require the approval of the Congregation Council.

It shall be the privilege and duty of members of this congregation to:

a. make regular use of the means of grace, both Word and sacraments;

b. live a Christian life in accordance with the Word of God and the teachings of the Lutheran church; and

c. support the work of this congregation and of the church at large through contributions of their time, abilities, and financial support as biblical stewards.

Membership in this congregation shall be terminated by any of the following:

a. death;

b. resignation;

c. transfer or release;

d. disciplinary action by the Congregation Council; or

e. removal from the roll due to inactivity as defined in the bylaws. Such persons who have been removed from the roll of members shall remain persons for whom the church has a continuing pastoral concern.



Chapter 9.

Authority to call a pastor shall be in this congregation by at least a two-thirds majority ballot vote of members present and voting at a meeting regularly called for that purpose.

Every called or contracted ordained minister shall preach the Word, administer the sacraments, conduct public worship, provide pastoral care, and shall speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God's love for the world. Each ordained minister with a congregational call or contract shall, within the congregation, offer instruction, confirm, marry, visit the sick and distressed, and bury the dead; supervise all schools and organizations of the congregation; shall install regularly elected members of the Congregation Council, and with the council administer discipline. Every pastor shall seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for the ministry of the Gospel and strive to extend the Kingdom of God in the community, in the nation, and abroad; shall impart knowledge of this church and its wider ministry through distribution of its periodicals and other publications; and shall endeavor to increase the support given by the congregation to the work of the church at large.

The specific duties of the pastor, compensation, and other matters pertaining to the service of the pastor shall be included in a letter of call or contract.

A. The call of a congregation or pastoral contract, when accepted by a pastor, shall constitute a continuing mutual relationship and commitment which, except in the case of the death of the pastor, shall be terminated only for the following reasons:

1. mutual agreement to terminate the call or contract or the completion of a call or contract for a specific term of years;

2. resignation of the pastor;

3. inability to conduct the pastoral office effectively in the congregation in view of local conditions, without reflection on the competence or the moral and spiritual character of the pastor;

4. the physical or mental incapacity of the pastor;

5. disqualification of the pastor through discipline on grounds of doctrine, morality, or continued neglect: of duty; or

6. the dissolution of the congregation.

B. In the case of alleged physical or mental incapacity of the pastor or ineffective conduct of the pastoral office, it shall be the responsibility of the Congregational Council to investigate such conditions. If the situation warrants, the council will appoint a committee of 2 qualified professionals and 1 layperson to investigate the conditions. The committee shall decide on the course of action to be recommended to the pastor and the congregation. If they agree to carry out such recommendations, no further action shall be taken. If either party fails to assent, the congregation may dismiss the pastor by a two-thirds majority vote of the voting members present at a properly called meeting after prayerful consideration. In case of alleged physical or mental incapacity, competent medical testimony shall be obtained.

C. In the case of alleged local difficulties which imperil the effective functioning of the congregation, all concerned persons shall be heard by a committee of 2 ordained ministers and 1 layperson, after which the committee shall decide on the course of action to be recommended to the pastor and the congregation. If they agree to carry out such recommendations, no further action shall be taken. If either party fails to assent, the congregation may dismiss the pastor by a two-thirds majority vote of the voting members present at a properly called meeting after prayerful consideration.

D. The foregoing procedure shall never be invoked when questions of doctrine, morality, or continued neglect of duty are involved, all such cases being treated as disciplinary matters.

At a time of pastoral vacancy, an interim pastor may be appointed by this congregation or the Congregation Council.

During the period of service, an interim pastor shall have the rights and duties of a regularly called pastor and may delegate the same in part to a supply pastor with the consent of this congregation or Congregation Council. The interim pastor and any ordained pastor providing assistance shall refrain from exerting influence in the selection of a pastor.



Chapter 10.

The annual meeting of this congregation shall be held at a time specified in the bylaws.

A special Congregation Meeting may be called by the pastor, the Congregation Council, or the president of this congregation, and shall be called at the written request of 50% of the voting members. The call for each special meeting shall specify the purpose for which it is to be held and no other business shall be transacted.

Notice of all meetings of this congregation shall be given at the services of worship on the preceding two consecutive Sundays and by mail to all voting members at least 10 days in advance of the date of the meeting. The posting of such notice in the regular mail, with the regular postage affixed or paid, sent: to the last known address of such members shall be sufficient.

25% of the voting members shall constitute a quorum.

Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.

All actions by the congregation shall be by majority vote except as otherwise provided in this constitution.

Robert's Rules of Order, latest edition, shall govern parliamentary procedure of all meetings of this congregation.



Chapter 11.

The officers of this congregation shall be a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.

a. Duties of the officers shall be specified in the bylaws.

b. The officers shall be voting members of the congregation.

c. Officers of this congregation shall serve the same offices on the Congregation Council and shall be voting members of the Congregation Council.

The pastor, providing all other requirements for voting membership are met, shall be ex officio vice-president of the congregation and the Congregation Council. The Congregation Council shall elect by written ballot the other officers of the congregation council who shall serve for one year or until their successors are elected. Their terms shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31.



Chapter 12.

The voting membership of the Congregation Council shall consist of the pastor(s), providing all other requirements for voting membership are met, and not more than 5 members of the congregation and the officers of the congregation. Any voting member of the congregation may be elected, subject only to the limitation on the length of continuous service permitted in that office. A member's place on the Congregation Council shall be declared vacant if the member a) ceases to be a voting member of this congregation or b) is absent from four successive regular meetings of the Congregation Council without cause.

The members of the Congregation Council except the pastor(s) shall be elected by written ballot to serve for 2 years or until their successors are elected. Such members shall be eligible to serve no more than two full terms consecutively. Their terms shall begin on January 1st, following their election.

Should a member's place on the Congregation Council be declared vacant, the Congregation Council shall elect, by majority vote, a successor until the next annual meeting.

The Congregation Council shall have general oversight of the life and activities of this congregation, and in particular its worship life, to the end that everything be done in accordance with the Word of God. The duties of the Congregation Council shall include the following:

a. To lead this congregation in stating its mission, to do long-range planning, to set goals and priorities, and to evaluate its activities in light of its mission and goals.

b. To seek to involve all members of this congregation in worship, learning, witness, service, and support.

c. To oversee and provide for the administration of this congregation to enable it to fulfill its functions and perform its mission.

d. To maintain supportive relationships with the pastor(s) and staff and help them annually to evaluate the fulfillment of their calling, appointment, or employment.

e. To be examples individually and corporately of the style of life and ministry expected of all baptized persons.

f. To promote a congregational climate of peace and goodwill and, as differences and conflicts arise, to endeavor to foster mutual understanding.

g. To arrange for pastoral service during the sickness or absence of the pastor.

h. To emphasize partnership with Christian Congregations.

The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the financial and property matters of this congregation.

a. The Congregation Council shall be the board of trustees of this congregation, and as such shall be responsible for maintaining and protecting its property and the management of its business and fiscal affairs. It shall have the powers and be subject to the obligations that pertain to such boards under the laws of the State of Ohio, except as otherwise provided herein.

b. The Congregation Council shall not have the authority to buy, sell, or encumber real property unless specifically authorized to do so by a meeting of the congregation.

c. The Congregation Council may enter into Contracts of up to $1500.00 for items not included in the budget.

d. The Congregation Council shall prepare an annual budget for adoption by this congregation, shall supervise the expenditure of funds in accordance therewith following its adoption, and may incur obligations more than $1000.00 in excess of the anticipated receipts only after approval by a Congregation Meeting. The budget shall include this congregation's full indicated share in support of the wider ministry.

e. The Congregation Council shall ascertain that the financial affairs of this congregation are being conducted efficiently, giving particular attention to the prompt payment of all obligations and to the regular forwarding of benevolence monies to the appropriate organizations.

f. The Congregation Council shall be responsible for this congregation's investments and its total insurance program.

The Congregation Council shall see that the provisions of this constitution, its bylaws, and the continuing resolutions are carried out.

The Congregation Council shall provide for an annual review of the membership roster.

The Congregation Council shall be responsible for the appointment and supervision of the salaried ordained, professional, and lay workers of this congregation.

The Congregation Council shall submit a comprehensive report to this congregation at the annual meeting.

The Congregation Council shall normally meet once a month. Special meetings may be called by the pastor or the president, and shall be called at the request of at least one-half of its members. Notice of each special meeting shall be given to all who are entitled to be present.

A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of a majority of the members of the Congregation Council, including the pastor or interim pastor, except when such person requests or consents to be absent and has given prior approval to an agenda of routine matters which shall be the only business of the meeting.



Chapter 13.

The officers of this congregation and the pastor shall constitute the Executive Committee.

Other congregational committees may be formed as the need arises, by decision of the Congregation Council.

Duties of congregational committees may be specified in the bylaws or continuing resolutions.



Chapter 14.

All organizations within this congregation shall exist to aid it in ministering to the members of this congregation and to all persons who can be reached with the Gospel of Christ. As outgrowths and expressions of this congregation's life, the organizations are subject to its oversight and direction. This congregation at its meeting shall determine their policies, guide their activities, and receive reports concerning their membership, work, and finances



Chapter 15.

Denial of the Christian faith as described in this constitution, conduct grossly unbecoming a member of the Church of Christ, or persistent trouble-making in this congregation are sufficient cause for discipline of a member. Prior to disciplinary action, reconciliation will be attempted following Matthew 18:15-17, proceeding through these successive steps: a) private admonition by the pastor, b) admonition by the pastor in the presence of two or three witnesses, and c) citation to appear before the Congregation Council.

A member charged with the offense shall appear before the Congregation Council having received a written notice, specifying the exact charges that have been made against the member, at least 10 days prior to the meeting.

Should the allegations be sustained by a two-thirds majority vote of the Congregation Council, the council shall impose one of the following disciplinary actions:

a. censure before the council or congregation;

b. suspension from membership for a definite period of time; or

c. exclusion from membership in this congregation. Disciplinary actions b. and c. shall be delivered to the member in writing.

The member against whom disciplinary action has been taken by the Congregation Council shall have the right to appeal the decision to the Denominational Council. Such right may not be abridged.

Disciplinary actions may be reconsidered and revoked by the Congregation Council upon receipt of a) evidence that injustice has been done or b) evidence of repentance and amendment.



Chapter 16.

This congregation may adopt bylaws. No bylaw may conflict with this constitution.

Bylaws may be adopted or amended at any legally called meeting of this congregation with a quorum present by a majority vote of those voting members present and voting.

Changes to the bylaws may be proposed by any voting member provided, however, that such additions or amendments be submitted in writing to the Congregation Council at least 60 days before a regular or special Congregation Meeting called for that purpose and that the Congregation Council notify the members of the proposal with its recommendations at least 30 days in advance of the Congregation Meeting.

Approved changes to the bylaws shall be sent to the appropriate governing body office.



Chapter 17.

Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by at least 25% of the voting members or by the Congregation Council. Proposals must be filed in writing with the Congregation Council 60 days before formal consideration by this congregation at its regular or special meeting called for that purpose. The Congregation Council shall notify the members of the proposal with their recommendations at least 30 days in advance of the meeting.

A proposed amendment to this constitution shall:

a. be approved at a properly called meeting according to this constitution by a majority vote of those present and voting;

b. be ratified without change at the next annual meeting by a two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting; and

c. have the effective date included in the resolution and noted in the constitution.

Any amendments to this constitution shall be sent by the secretary of this congregation to the appropriate governing body office.



Chapter 18.

The Congregation Council may enact continuing resolutions which describe the function of the various committees or organizations of this congregation.

Continuing resolutions shall be enacted or amended by a two-thirds vote of all voting members of the Congregation Council.




Annual Meeting

1. The annual congregational meeting shall be held on a Sunday in the last quarter of the year, to be determined yearly by the Church council during its regular meeting in August or September.


1. A Decorating Committee will be called whenever a change in the church's physical appearance is being considered. Any voting member may call for the Decorating Committee to meet by notifying the Church Council and the congregation of the time, date and purpose at least 2 weeks in advance, Membership in this Committee will consist of any voting member who desires to participate. There is no upper limit to the number of members on this Committee.

a. The Committee’s decisions will be made by majority vote of those present. The desired proposal(s), including cost estimates, will then be presented to Church Council and the congregation. The final form of the proposal must receive the approval of a majority of the Church Council members.

b. If Church funds are necessary, Church Council will then approve or disapprove funding for the project, in accordance with the church constitution.

2. An auditing team (committee) may be appointed or employed by the church council to verify the congregation’s financial records. This committee will consist of 1 or more persons and will verify the records of all congregational organizations.