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Structure of the ELCL

Constitution

The governing document of the ELCL is its Constitution. The Constitution states the Biblical and theological convictions upon which the Lutheran Church of Latvia is based and which determine its mission and life. In addition, the Constitution describes the structures of the church and the administrative and legal processes through which the church is governed and makes its decisions. The Constitution can be amended only by a decision of the Synod.

Synod

The Synod meets at least once every three years and is the highest decision-making body of the ELCL. Delegates to Synod include the archbishop, bishops, members of the Consistory, deans, pastors and assistant pastors, pastoral duty executors and and one lay representative from each congregation. The responsibilities of the Synod are to strenthen the ministry and unity of the ELCL; to ratify and amend the constitution of the ELCL; to promulgate the church bylaws, annual and amend existing bylaws; to ratify the joining of the ELCL into cross-confessional agreements; to establish dioceses, alter combine or dissolve existing ones; to ratify new and annul existing ELCL committees; to elect diocese bishops; to make resolutions concerning ELCL relations with the State and other confessions etc..

Council of bishops

The council of bishops consists of all bishops. The council of bishops represents the final authority in the overseeing of issues concerning ELCL teaching and the administration of the Sacraments and liturgies. 

The council of bishops has the right to annul any resolution in the church if it goes against ELCL teaching or ELCL unity. The rights and responsibilities of the council of bishops are to ensure the unity and apostolic succession of the ELCL; to maintain that ELCL teachings are in conformity with the Holy Scriptures and Creeds, which are the foundation of the ELCL as stated in the preamble of the constitution; to oppose false teachings; to provide for a unified practice of worship in all dioceses, as well as in the ELCL in its entirety; to make decisions regarding pastor ordinations; to provide supervision for pastors and other ELCL ministers so that they do not propagate doctrines that are in contradiction to teachings of ELCL; to make decisions in cases that surpass the competence of one diocese bishop, and in cases that are in the competence of diocese bishop, but extend beyond one diocese boarders; to oversee the ministry and tasks of the bishops in accordance with the constitution; to oversee the work of missions and evangelization; to oversee spiritual care between dioceses; to make decisions concerning the movement of pastors from one diocese to another; to establish and promote relations between ELCL and the state, ecumenical relations with other churches and its institutions in Latvia, and with nongovernmental organizations; to establish the development plan and strategy for the ELCL. The council of bishops can convene the synod.

Consistory 

The Consistory is the highest decision-making body between the meetings of Synod. Members of the Consistory meet at least two times each year to approve the budget of the church and to make decisions of policy. The Consistory is comprised of the chapter and other ratified members. ELCL committees are represented in the Consistory. The Consistory elects the secretary of the Consistory and the executive council of the Consistory. Meetings of the executive council of the Consistory are convened at least once a month. 

The rights and responsibilities of the Consistory are implementing the resolutions of the Synod; making final decisions concerning issues and complaints given by the Synod; management of all ELCL properties, oversee the diaconate, missions and other institutions; ratify the budget of the Consistory once a year; prepare the order of the day for the Synod; initiate that the Synod establish or dissolve ELCL committees.

Chapter

The Chapter, or Council of Deans, includes the archbishop, bishops, deans and cathedral deans. The rights and responsibilities of the Chapter are ratification of the ELCL committee leaders; ratification of the members of the Consistory; promulgate in congregations where necessary pastor elections in accordance with the church bylaws; ratification of new congregations; after receiving the yearly reviews of the deaneries, prepare the yearly overall reviews of the deaneries, prepare the yearly overall review of the state of the ELCL, its life and activities; define the theological education standard for the ELCL pastoral candidates and other ELLC workers; adopt Christian education programs, submit such programs for discussion in pastor conferences and then ratify same etc.. 

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