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Constitution: 1894 (Menighedens Constitusien)

Original in Norwegian

§ 1.
The name of our congregation shall be: St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical-Lutheran Congregation, Pennington Co., Minnesota.

§ 2.
This congregation recognizes the Holy Word of God, as it is revealed in the Old and New Testaments canonical books, as the only source, rule and guide for faith, teaching and learning.

§ 3.
We will in everything stay true to the genuine, old evangelical-Lutheran faith, because it emanates from the clear fountain of God’s word.

§ 4.
The congregation professes itself adherent of the symbolical books of the Lutheran church, because these offer a true and unadulterated presentation of the teaching contained in the word of God.

These symbolical books are:
1. The Apostles’ Creed
2. The Nicean Confession
3. The Athenasian Confession
4. The Confession of Augsburg, or the confession that was delivered to Emperor Charles V at the Convention in Augsburg in the year 1530
5. The Apologia of the Confession of Augsburg
6. The Schmalkaldian articles
7. Dr. Martin Luther’s shorter catechism
8. Dr. Martin Luther’s greater catechism
9. The Concordance formula

§ 5.
This congregation will not appoint or employ anyone as pastor or spiritual guide, unless this person is legally tried, in good order called, and initiated according to the Church into the spiritual office, or unless he has committed himself to all the canonical books of the Holy Scriptures as the manifest word of God, and to the symbolical books, listed in paragraph 4. Above all he must obey our doctrine mentioned above, and profess and also endeavour to set the congregation a good example, and to be faithful in his duties both to great and small.

§ 6.
The divine service actions in the congregation shall be performed according to the ritual of the Church of Norway dated 1685, and Altarbook of 1688. However, these may be modified as the congregation, owing to the circumstances, may find it suitable to decide.

Whoever wants to join the congregation will apply to its pastor, who will acquire and inform about the relevant particulars. For the admission of an adult the following is required:

a. that the person concerned must be christened in a Christian baptismal rite
b. at least have as much knowledge in Scripture as is required from a confirmee
c. not be guilty of any apparent sin, but strive to live according to Christian morals
d. adopt the fundamental rules of the congregation, and follow what is decided by the congregation, provided that this is not contrary to the word of God, and allow himself in brotherly love to be admonished, should he have done wrong.

The pastor of the congregation will present the application at the next service or meeting, and at the first congregational meeting after the application, the applicant shall be admitted into the congregation if he is present and willing to follow the fundamental rules of the congregation. On being asked about these rules the applicant shall answer a distinct “Ja”. Thereupon is voted with ordinary acclamation.

Thereupon the pastor shall wish him welcome and briefly direct to him and the congregation some admonitory words about Christian conviviality and work in faith and love. Should it, at the accepting of new members of the congregation, become apparent or come about, that there is not agreement, then the admission of the person concerned shall be postponed until a later meeting.

The duties of a member of the congregation are:

a. By the Grace of God to beware of sin and offence, on the other hand to endeavour to live according to Christian morals
b. with devotion and diligence to use the holy (measures? standards?) for the awakening and augmenting of faith and the confirming of love
c. take part in the meetings of the congregation and thereby promote further religious edification of the congregation
d. from confirmation onwards, according to his ability, contribute to the expenses of the congregation and to the preservation and propagation of the Church of God as the Lord has taught us to pray: “Thy Kingdom come”.

To work so that a brotherly love and confidence can exist between pastor and congregation and between the members of the congregation, in that everybody helps with his particular ability.

§ 9.
The congregation shall every year hold its annual congregational meeting for the election of trustees and other officials. The trustees of the congregation shall deal with its economical matters, in the way that the congregation has instructed them.

§ 10.
Besides the annual meeting mentioned, the congregation can also hold meetings as often as it finds suitable. Summons to these meetings will be announced by the parish pastor at the preceding service or by a proclamation signed by him.

§ 11.
If a majority of trustees or ten voting members of the congregation in writing to the pastor request that a congregational meeting be held on a certain mentioned day, the pastor is under obligation to summon to the meeting. If then the Pastor fails or refuses to assemble the meeting, one of the trustees can in writing demand the meeting called for.

If, in absence of the pastor, a matter that cannot be postponed demands to be settled by a meeting of the congregation, it can be convened by a majority of trustees. This paragraph applies only on condition that the meeting can not be held until after the lapse of three days following that the summons has reached all the members entitled to vote in the congregation.

§ 12.
The congregation’s meetings are as a rule presided over by the pastor as a chairman. In case of the pastor’s absence or when special circumstances make it desirable, the members can elect another chairman.

§ 13.
The power of the congregation in [illegible] in external and internal management of clerical and congregational matters. The congregation has no right, however, to arrange or decide anything whatsoever against the word of God’s symbolical books. If it does so, then all actions and resolutions are invalid.

§ 14.
The right to speak and vote at congregational meetings only belongs to the male members of the congregation, who
a) are 21 years old,
b) annually contribute to the expenses of the congregation, unless they are exempt from it by the congregation. He, who has not for a whole year contributed anything to the congregation has thereby lost his right to vote,
c) has not been taken in (“tukt” can mean either to be disciplined or to live respectably) by the congregation,
d) is not according to decisions of the congregation from other reasons deprived of his right to vote.

§ 15.
It is the duty of the members of the congregation to take part in their meetings. Whoever does not appear cannot exercise his right to vote, but shall have to accept the decisions of the congregation.

§ 16.
Special matters or matters of conscience can not be decided upon by voting, but only according to the word of God, the symbolical books of our Church.

§ 17.
Two thirds of the votes are necessary
a) on election of pastor or schoolteacher, after the congregation first have agreed upon candidates to be elected,
b) on receiving or initiating speech or voting rights,
c) on changing or adding to the congregation’s order.

In difficult cases the congregation should seek advice from experienced and pious brethren in the faith. Moreover other matters are settled by direct voting, and should both sides be equal, after all together with the chairman have voted, then one person whom the chairman chooses, blindfolded picks out one ballot, and the other ballots are re-counted again.

§ 18.
To be trustees and other positions of trust, can only be elected such persons of the congregation who are capable both in practical and Christian confession, such men who show fervour and zeal for the word of God, and are regular in hearing the public preaching of the word and take part in the Lord’s Supper.

§ 19.
All officials of the congregation can in Christian order be removed of discharged from his position. Well-founded reasons for dismissing a pastor or school teacher are stubborn and despite warning instance of false teachings, offensive behaviour or continuous unfaithfulness in his office.

§ 20.
It is in the duty of everyone confirmed member of the congregation, according to his capacity, to contribute to the maintenance of church and school, and help to settle the debt in case the congregation has one. If any person during one year does not contribute to the expenses of the congregation, and has not been exempt by the congregation owing to poverty, then he shall be admonished in a brotherly way.

§ 21.
If a member, in accordance with the word of God, is suspended from the congregation, then such a person shall have no rights in the congregation, and shall lose all right to the property of the congregation, and the same shall apply to whoever resigns from the congregation.

§ 22.
Should, the grace of God forbid, a disruption arise in this congregation, then shall the property of the congregation, personal or real [literally “movables and fixtures”] belong to the party which, besides being loyal to the rules of this congregation, remains true to the word of God and the symbolical books, and demands that pastor and schoolteacher commit themselves to these. While dealing with such matters, that are mentioned in this paragraph, majority of those present is not valid, but there may be a majority of all the voting members of the congregation.

§ 23.
Of these paragraphs the following shall remain immutable: 2-3-4-5-13-16-19-21-22 and this paragraph. Remaining paragraphs may be changed or new ones added, such changes or additions may, however, never conflict with any of the immutable paragraphs, nor be decided upon other than on the regular annual meetings or after a proposal about it has been presented in writing at a conducted service at least two months earlier.

§ 24.
These congregational regulation shall take effect as from it has been accepted.

The end.

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