Eastern District Bylaws and Regulations, 2015 Proposed Changes

Eastern District Bylaws and Regulations, 2015 Proposed Changes


An explanation to the Delegates of the 2015 Eastern District Convention

along with other interested parties

See documents “Eastern District Bylaws” & “Eastern District Regulations working document”

Why The Changes?

It has been years since the Eastern District reviewed it governing documents, its Bylaws and Regulations, with updates approved by the District Convention. Times and circumstances have changed for us, but our governing documents have not kept up with the pace. It’s time for what we say we are doing to match what we are doing. The recommended changes will do just that. They are being submitted by the Eastern District Board of Directors to the Eastern District 2015 Convention for the following reasons:

  1. Update governing documents that reflect the way we have been doing our work for 15 years. We are operating with a policy-based governing style. Our Boards, for the most part, have not been operating.
  2. Update according to current New York State not-for-profit rules and standards. Many changes have come into law in 2014. They mostly address the character of the Board to ensure lawful integrity and intra-Board relations.
  3. Comply with Synod 1981 Convention Resolution 5-07 and 2004 Resolution 4-11. Camp Pioneer is a corporation created by the Eastern District in 1990 when it purchased the Camp from the Eastern District Lutheran Laymen’s League. In order for Camp to use Synod’s “blanket” 501 (c) 3, our governing documents are to contain certain phrases and assurances according to the resolutions.
  4. Comply with Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Commission on Constitutional Matters standards. For example: “teacher” is now “Ministers of Religion - Commissioned”.

Essentially, What Is Changing?

There are numerous recommended changes to the Bylaws and Regulations of the Eastern District. Many of them are small, by nature, and hardly worth mention. Others are sizeable by comparison. The larger pieces, including elimination of an entire section in the documents, will recognize that the District operates under a policy-based governing style. Adding 4 Lay Directors will closely maintain the Lay-Clergy balance on the Board.

1.Elimination of Ministry Departments and with it, elimination of four operation Board Chairmen from the BOD. These have operated only slightly or not at all in 15 years. The President is responsible to appoint individuals or committees for tasks on an as-needed basis.

2.Board of Directors is charged with overall policy of the District. The President is charged with ecclesiastical supervision and the operation and program of the District.

3.Addition of 4 Lay Directors to the Board of Directors. The addition will help maintain balance on the Board. The chair for the Commission Ministers Representative is sustained. The chair for the Chair of the Camp Board is eliminated.

4.Board of Directors’ role regarding Camp Pioneer is clarified in keeping with resolutions of Synod.

The Journey.

The recommended changes to theBylaws and Regulations of the Eastern District documents have taken a long and difficult journey to the Eastern District Convention. We submit the following to you to show that many eyes have examined and many have discussed, commented on, and suggested changes to what is before you.

  • November 2012, Eastern District Board of Directors form a Bylaws Committee to review and draft recommended changes to the Bylaws and Regulations. That committee consists of Mark Lambrecht, Gordie Tresch, Rick Porter, and Chris Wicher
  • May 2013, first draft presented to the Board of Directors. Changes made
  • September 2013, Draft presented to Pastors’ Conference. Changes made.
  • November, 2013 – April, 2014, Draft presented to Eastern District congregations through a series of 20 “Leaders’ Forums”. Changes made.
  • May, 2014, Draft returned to the Board of Directors
  • June, 2014, Draft submitted to District’s Legal Counsel.
  • December, 2014, Draftagain submitted to Legal Counsel. Changes made.
  • February, 2015, Draft submitted to Board of Directors
  • February, 2015, Drafts submitted to Synod’s Commission on Constitutional Matters
  • May, 2015, Draft approved by the Board of Directors for convention

How Will This Change be Effected?

Only the District in convention has the authority to change the way the District is governed. The changes are being proposed by the Board of Directors to the District in convention in June 2015. The action will take the form of an “overture”, and that, at the beginning of convention business. The motion will call for adoption of all the changes in “one full swoop”. Debate will be allowed. Discussion and further explanation will take place. However, since this document has taken such a journey to the convention and many have had opportunity to make suggestions along the way andunderstanding changes have already been made, and since Synod’s CCM has approved the documents, it is in the opinion of the Board of Directors, that Convention decide on the proposed document as it stands.


The Overture to the Convention has yet to pass through the Floor Committee, but as of today, here is roughly how it will look.


WHEREAS, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod allows individual Districts to establish governing systems [in the form of Bylaws and Regulations such as exist for the Eastern District] that supplement the governing documents of the Synod, and;

WHEREAS, the Eastern District has ordered itself in said and expressed governing documents the Bylaws and Regulations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Eastern District; and

WHEREAS, from time to time it becomes necessary to modify said governing documents to better reflect given circumstances and for timely and greater efficiency; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the Eastern District, through its Bylaws Committee, has, among other documents, evaluated the Bylaws and Regulations of the Eastern District and recommends change; and

WHEREAS, the proposed changes have over the past three years been thoroughly reported to the Eastern District Board of Directors, representatives of the Board for Pioneer Ministries, Pastors of the District, Congregations of the District through a series of twenty Leaders’ Forums, the District’s Legal Counsel, and Synod’s Commission on Constitutional Matters; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, the Eastern District Bylaws and Regulations with proposed changes, as they are presented in the Convention Workbook (p. ) and again in Today’s Business (p. ) be approved; and be it further,

RESOLVED, the adoption of the Bylaws and Regulations with changes be in effect immediately and hence marking at this time their use for this 98th Convention of the Eastern District; and be it further,

RESOLVED, the Eastern District Board of Directors be thanked for their dutiful and faithful oversight of this project; and be it finally

RESOLVED, the Bylaws Committee of the Board of Directors be shown appreciation by this Convention for the many hours spent and numerous discussion held and extra meetings attended to make these governing documents now as current as possible.