Constitution of the St Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Montpelier Twp, Muscatine Co IA Constitution of  the
St Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Montpelier Township
Muscatine County Iowa

Transcribed from the original German in 1976 by Mr. James Batchelor
See the introduction to St Peter's Lutheran Church records for more information.

Constitution of St. Peter's Evangelical Congregation of Montpelier Township, Muscatine County, Iowa

Concerning the confessions of the congregation

Our congregation bears the name of St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, and confesses (acknowledges) the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only rule and norm of the faith and life of its members.


As evangelical Lutheran Christians we confess (acknowledge) the complete confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church writings, especially to the generally acknowldeged Lutheran Congregational Confessions as follows:  The Small and Large Catechism of Luther, and the Augsburg Confession as the pure and unadulterated exposition of God's Word and Will, to which faith and confession we, with our descendants, by God's Grace, want to remain devoted and faithful.


Therefore we forbid (refuse) all mixtures of faith which strive against the pure evangelical truth, we will cultivate and endure (tolerate) no common communion with such who publicly deviate from the truth of the Gospel, and we will use only such books in our church and school which are in agreement with the Word of God and the Confessions of our Church.


Concerning the office of preaching in the congregation of God's Word and the Sacraments, and the spiritual maintenance of the congregation, which every member of the congregation shall judge, honor, and recognize as God's rule.


Our pastors must be faithfully dedicated to the Confessions of the (our) church, and members of the Synod to which or congregation belongs, to which congregation they must nevertheless give a sincere pledge of their official Vocation (calling).  They shall by their ordination promise to teach publicly (#) and (secretly) at home faithgfully according to the complete (collective) confessional writings of our church, and also to deal in like manner with the same. (#-the word INTRODUKTION resists a flexible translation for this translator)


In the event a necissity arises to call a pastor, the congregation shall exercise her office of calling, upon the advisory council of the Synod.  The choice of pastor to be called shall be accompanied in an (orderly manner)  officially called congregational meeting at which the called must have, however a two-thirds majority voice.
(words "orderly manner" inserted by translator)


We will call a pastor not only for a certain time, but for so long as he teaches and lives in accordance with the Holy Gospel, and as long as it  pleases God to allow him to be and work among us.  The written testimony to the call shall be signed by our board of directors in the name of the congregation, and shall be affirmed (ratified) by the proper (respective) officials of our synod.


Our Pastor shall receive an adequate, definate, annual salary, which is to be presented to him through the board in a timely and appreciable manner.


The pastor of our congregation can neither arbitrarily leave it nor (can  he) be arbitrarily discharged by it.  If he believes he has a valid reason to follow (accept) a call to another congregation, the agreement of the congregation (to his departure) is necessary, which (congregation) shall consider the affair in an orderly meeting in the fear of God, in such case there must be a two thirds (majority) of the meeing agreeable to his release.


If the congregation, or a part thereof, has any complaint against its pastor, his teaching or behaviour, and the situation cannot be resolved through the church board and through the congregational meetings then the complaint shall be brought before the Synod, and a resolution shall be sought through an orderly and Christian investigation.  In case the investigation yields that the pastor has shown (made) himself unworthy of the holy office in accordance with the Word of God, so shall he cease from same.


As Evangelical Lutheran Christians we know we are duty bound to train our church in our most holy Faith for God's Kingdom, to teach her in this faith, and to provide orderly instruction therein.


Since the publice state school allows for no instruction in the Christian Faith, indeed at no time in any place offers a guarantee that the children will occasionally not be impressed in opposition to Christian principles, our church will erect and support a parochial school, where in addition to (besides) the instruction in necessary and useful timely (things) subjects they (the children) shall also receive sufficient instruction in the faith of our church and are led to the fear of God.


As long as our congregation is not in a situation to support a special teacher, she calls her pastor to simultaneously serve as teacher that he administers the necessary school instruction insofar as the preparation of the preaching (sermons) allows.  As soon as the congregation sees herself in a condition to call a particular (special) teacher, so shall she call a churchly minded, tested, and according to present standards, a sufficiently trained person for the office of school teacher.  The churchly administration of the school remains in control of the pastor.
(The last several lines are a bit free with the translation)


He who wants to be and remain a member of our congregation, must agree with her in faith and confession, and also have the sincere desire to diligently attend the worship service, and to intend immovably to measure his life's way after the Holy Gospel.  There shall be no one in our congregation (named) as long as he is openly disobedient in life and teaching to God's Word, also no person who belongs to an organization which proves itself (has proof) against Christian foundations and outlook.


Anyone who wants continuously to enjoy (use) the means of Grace in our congregation, must be a member of the congregation.


He who wishes to be accepted into the membership of the congregation, (shall) announce (such) to our pastor, who shall bring the announcement to the attention of the congregation at the following worship service, at which the officers shall deliberate concerning the acceptance. (on the next Sunday).  If the applicant is shown either orally or in writing to be credible, or if there is nothing against him because  of which the acceptance is to be refused, so shall the same be completed at the next congregational meeting.  If however, a definate inconsistancy appears against the faith or life of the applicant, so must the acceptance be put aside until he is found repentant, at which time he shall be tenderly (lovingly) admonished   (discovered)


If the applicant is at this time a member (has been a member) of another belief (confession), then shall his transfer and acceptance not occur before he has treated the necessary confessions of our church, and has publically agreed with our confessions.  Such a transfer shall take place in a public worship service in an orderly fashion.
(again, a rather free translation)


No one can become nor remain a member of our congregation who enters into marriage and continues to live in such a marriage that is forbidden in the Third Book of Moses (Leviticus) Chapter 18, or he who is divorced or obtains a divorce contrary to Matthew 19:9.


House fathers and housemothers are duty bound to bring as soon as possible their newborn children for Holy Baptism of the Lord, and where emergency baptism was necessarily performed by the layman, the same shall be publically confirmed by the pastor. (the parents shall have the same publically confirmed by the pastor).  They are further charged to hold (continue) their confirmed children in diligent attendance at God's services, especially at instruction in the Christian religion.  The confirmed young person himself is bound to attend intimately instruction in the Christian religion in the Sunday Schools of the congregation in order to promote a further establishing of himself in the Christian teaching.  All connunicant members shall diligently use Absolution and The Lord's Supper, and shall in reasonable time, announce their intentions to the pastor for the appointed service.

Note: There are more items, numbering 20- 41 for which I am only able to locate the copies of the original German.  Attempts to obtain the English translations of those sections are in progress and they will be added as soon as located.

List of those signing the constitution:
Daniel Grimm
signature illegible
signature illegible
L. Gerhard
Georg Gerhard
August Henke
Jacob Haupert
Julius Welsh
Daniel Grimm Jr
Fred Grimm
Chas. Grossarth

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