Issue 48 of Administration Matters

Time to update your congregation’s constitution

Now that the 2016 Churchwide Assembly is over, it is a good time to look at updating your congregation’s constitution. The 2016 Churchwide Assembly made several important changes to the Model Constitution for Congregations, including addressing the unification of the three lay rosters, revising the provisions for parishes, and updating the membership rules. In addition, many congregations have not updated their constitutions since the 2013 Churchwide Assembly, which made important changes to the procedures for disciplining members of congregations. The next churchwide assembly will be in 2019, so there will be no changes to the Model Constitution for Congregations in the next three years, making it an excellent time to update yours now.

Updating a congregation’s constitution to reflect changes in the Model Constitution for Congregations is relatively easy and straightforward. The changes to the Model in 2016 can be found (top of the page) here. while the changes from 2013 can be found (middle of the page) here. Mandatory provisions are marked with an asterisk (*). Under *C17.04 of the Model (now renumbered *C16.04), these changes can be adopted by a majority vote of the members present and voting at any legally-called congregational meeting. At least 30 days prior to the meeting, the congregation council needs to give notice to the congregation of the proposed amendments, along with their recommendations as to the amendments. Once the amendments are made, notice is given to the synod, but no synod action is required. >More

Webinar on new overtime rules

The U.S. Department of Labor has adopted new overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which will go into effect on December 1, 2016. Among other changes, these regulations increase the minimum salary for exempt employees from $23,000 to $47,476. Many congregations, synods, and other ministries of the church have questions about how this impacts their employees. Does it apply to churches? What about pastors? Youth workers? Sextons? How about schools? Or camps? The ELCA has provided guidance on these and other issues to bishops and synod attorneys.
On October 18, 2016, at Noon (Central Time), the ELCA will be hosting a free webinar on how the new regulations will affect religious institutions, and try to answer many of these questions.  Presenting at the webinar will be Steve Knowles, an employment lawyer with the law firm of Davis Kuelthau, and Tom Cunniff, ELCA Associate General Counsel.  Information on attending the webinar will be forthcoming.

HR Series – applications for employment

It’s important to have a completed application form for each lay candidate applying for a job. If carefully designed, the application will assist you in determining whether there is a good fit between the position and the potential employee. >More

Two common misunderstandings about workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance can help protect your business and employees providing benefits for work related injuries or illnesses, including medical care and wages from lost work time. >More

Don’t let hazardous materials go down the drain

It is important to dispose of hazardous waste and electronic equipment in a safe and appropriate manner. The dangers of disposing of these materials incorrectly might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal can pollute the environment and threaten human health. >More

Gutenberg to Google – effective use of technology for congregations

View this webinar offered by Augsburg Fortress Lewis at your convenience! It will explore how the use of media to proclaim the Gospel is the same and has changed from the time of Martin Luther to the beginning of the 21st century. You’ll learn something about history and how our reforming traditions are alive and well today. You will come away with fresh ideas for using your congregation’s website, social media and other new technologies to proclaim the Gospel! > More