1925 Constitution



Know all men by presence that we the undersigned do hereby certify that at a meeting of the members and friends of a church and religious society to be called and known as the First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church * and Society of the City and County of Racine in the State of Wisconsin held at the house of John Lawson of said City on the 22nd day of August, A.D. 1851 for the purpose of electing trustees for said Society.

The undersigned two voters of said church and society had been nominated by a majority of the voters to preside at such election that we received the votes and determined the qualification of voters and we further certify that

  • John S. Bangs for the term of 3 years
  • John Lawson for the term of 2 years and
  • Andrew Johnson for the term of 1 year

were by a plurality of votes cast elected trustees for said Society (they being persons belonging thereto) and to transact all affairs relative to the temporalities thereof. Said Trustees and the successors forever hereafter to be called and known as the Trustees of the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church and Society.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF we have hereunto set our hands and seals this 22nd day of August, A.D. 1851.

Moderators { A. I. Hatlestad (SEAL)

{ E. M. Sørly (SEAL)



Personally came before me on this 15th day of January, 1852, A. I. Hatlestad and E. M. Sørly, the Moderators of Election within mentioned and acknowledged that they had executed the within certificate of Election for the uses and purposes for which the same is designed.

John Wilson

Notary Public for Racine County.

Received for record January 15th, 1852 at 11 A.M.


Article I.

1. The incorporate name is the First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Racine, Wisconsin.

This Congregation is a part of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with the privilege to unite with or withdraw from the different Danish Evangelical Lutheran Synods in America,, providing two-thirds of the voting members present at a Congregational Meeting deem it beneficial. Nevertheless, it will always adhere as closely as possible to the Lutheran Church in Denmark.

2. We recognize only one true Christian faith to salvation, namely:

That into which we are baptized, and which we confess in our Baptismal Covenant.

3. Confession: This Congregation believes, teaches and confesses:

  1. That the Holy Scripture (The Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments) is God’s Word revealed to mankind for salvation and blesedness. Therefore, it must be recognized as the highest authority in every respect, and by everyone in the Congregation.
  2. That a sinner is justified by undeserved grace through faith, apart from the works of the Law. Romans 3:28.

4. As Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, we acknowledge the Sumbolical Books of our Danish Mother Church, namely:

  1. Apostolic Creed, as condition for Baptism,
  2. The Nicene Symbol,
  3. The Athanasion Symbol,
  4. The unaltered Augsburg Confession of 1530.
  5. Luther’s Small Catechism, as an explanation of our faith and hope.

5. The fundamental rules which contain God’s Word cannot be altered.

6. Administering of the Holy Sacraments, as well as the Divine Ceremonies, shall in this Congregation be carried out in accordance with the Danish and Norwegian Altar Book and Ritual.

7. None but rightly ordained Lutheran pastors are permitted to be called to the ministry, and to administer the sacraments in this Congregation.

8. The Congregation acknowledges, as its Christian duty, to the best of its ability, to care for the Christian enlightenment of the children and young people intrusted to it, and also to help the needy members of the Congregation in word and deed.


Article 1.

Church Council and Other Officers

1. The Church Council must consist of men who have been members of the Congregation for at least one year, and during that time shown interest in the growth and development of the Congregation.


  1. The officers of the Congregation must consist of:
    • One president
    • One secretary,
    • Three trustees,
    • Seven deacons,

    who together with the pastor constitutes the Church Council.

  2. Furthermore, the following are elected:
    • One treasurer (who shall be a member of the trustees),
    • One assistant treasurer (who shall be a member of the Church Council),
    • Three auditors,
    • School committee of two,
    • Song committee of two,
    • One director for each choir,
    • One organist,
    • One assistant organist.

    Trustees are elected for a period of three years in such a manner that one member is elected each year. All other officers and committees are elected for a term of one year.

3. The Church Council is elected by ballot at the yearly congregational meeting in the order specified in Paragraph 2 (a), in the following manner:


  1. A free ballot is taken, and thereafter, a re-vote on the two or three persons who have the highest number of votes, and the one that obtains the majority of the given votes, is legally elected.
  2. The treasurer and the assistant treasurer are elected by ballot.
  3. Auditors and committee (see Paragraph 5(b))


If at any time it is necessary to re-elect officers or elect new officers, the time and place for such election must be announced two Sundays previous to the meeting.


On the first Sunday in the new year, the newly elected council shall be installed by the pastor, in the church, during the Sunday morning services.

4. The Duties of the Church Council Are:

To appoint all assistants necessary at the church services. Furthermore, the Church Council has full power to act on all minor church matters with the approval of the Congregation.

5. The Duties of the President Are:

  1. To call a meeting of the Church Council when two of the Council demand it. To preside at all Church Council and congregation meetings. Furthermore, in all matters to attend to the interests of the Congregation in the best manner, according to his best judgment. The president may of his own authority call council and congregational meetings, at any time, he may find it necessary.
  2. Members of all committees desired, must be nominated by the president and sanctioned by the assemblage.

6. The Duties of the Secretary Are:

To keep records of the proceedings at congregational and council meetings and to carry on the correspondence of the Congregation.

7. The Duties of the Trustees Are:

To administer all matters pertaining to the church property and its reparations according to their best judgment.

To take charge of all decisions made by the Church Council and the Congregation, for example: In regard to any business transaction or the execution of any undertaking. As trustees of the Church, to sign all documents in all business transactions on behalf of the Congregation.

8. The Duties of the Deacons Are:

To further the Christian life of the Congregation, and as often, as convenient, to visit the members in their district, especially the sick or poor, and to notify the pastor when any are found in need of his help or spiritual advice. Furthermore, it is their duty, at the end of each year, to request a membership subscription for the coming year, and also a subscription to the Synod’s School Fund, and at the direction of the Church Council to visit the members in arrears.

9. The Duties of the Treasurer Are:

  1. To receive the funds of the Congregation. To pay all bills, as far as funds permit, and keep a record of the Congregation’s financial matters. At the regular meeting of the Congregation in January, he shall lay before the assemblage, an audited, itemized, financial statement, with receipts. To have printed an annual report of the Congregation’s finances, donations, membership, the pastor’s report, and other activities within the Congregation.The Duties of the Assistant Treasurer Are:


  • To assist the treasurer with the records of the weekly contributions.10. The Duties of the Auditors Are:
    1. The School Committee is to act on all matters pertaining to the Congregation’s summer school.
    2. The Song Committee is to care for the interest of the Congregation in regard to choir song, song services, and the regular church song, and to assist and advise the choirs when necessary. Furthermore, at the annual business session, they shall lay before the Congregation a list of applicants for the position of organists and choir directors for the ensuing year.
    3. Both committees are responsible to the Congregation.

    Article II




    1. Applicants for membership to the Congregation must announce such intention to the pastor, who shall then bring the matter before the first meeting of the Council, and if no hindrances are found for their acceptance, one of the deacons shall familiarize them with the Church Constitution, and they shall declare themselves willing to submit to the church ordinances. Such application for membership shall be announced at the first Sunday morning service, and providing no one objects within fourteen days, either to the pastor or to a member of the Church Council, such applicant will be accepted at the first Sunday morning service.
    2. The Congregation recognizes letters of transfer from all Lutheran Congregations, providing, the applicant applies to the pastor and is accepted by the Council.
    3. When a man of our Congregation marries and his wife is baptized and confirmed, owing to his membership she becomes a member, if she so desires.


    1. All members are duty bound, according to their ability, to contribute to the expenses of the Congregation, and the Synod’s School Fund. Members must subscribe to their deacon for the coming year during the latter half of December (see Article I, Paragraph 8). Said contributions shall be paid in advance, at the Sunday morning services, in the envelopes supplied for that purpose.
    2. When a member has neglected for three months to contribute to the amount subscribed, such member shall be notified by letter, and if after six months, no contributions have been received, the matter shall be brought before the Church Council, and if the council finds it is without sufficient cause the member concerned has neglected to pay, such member shall then forfeit the right to vote, and if at the end of the year nothing has yet been paid, the matter shall be laid before the Congregation, which shall take action in respect to dismissal from the Congregation, whereupon the dismissed forfeits all right to the property of the Congregation.
    3. Nevertheless, it shall be distinctly understood, if any member for good reasons have neglected to contribute, or is so situated that he or she cannot contribute at all, that should be no hindrance for such a person to be recognized as a member in good standing, and to partake in the Congregation’s blessings, if the individual otherwise feels heartily attached to the Congregation.

    3. All members over eighteen years of age who have fulfilled the above obligations (Article II Paragraph 2(a)-(c)) have voting rights.

    4. If a member openly leads a disgraceful life or if a person directly or indirectly counteracts the good understanding and peace that exists in the Congregation, he or she shall be dealt with according to Holy Scripture, as indicated in Matt. 18:15-18.** If this prescibed, gradual warning proves fruitless, such person shall be dismissed, and thereby forfeit all rights as a member. Later if such an individual earnestly shows improvement, and wishes again to become a member of the Congregation, he or she can be re-instated as indicated in 2 Cor. 2:10*** according to the rules outlined in Article II, Paragraph 1 (a).


    1. Anyone wishing to leave the Congregation must announce their intentions to the pastor and state their reasons. If such a person brings forth complaints against the pastor or Congregation, or the pastor for other reasons finds that it is necessary, he shall request that the person be present at the first Council meeting, in order that the matter be adjusted, and if possible, the misunderstanding be settled.
    2. Members leaving our locality need only to request the pastor or deacon to have their name removed from the membership list.
    3. If anyone has complaints against one or more members, such complaints cannot be brought into a congregation meeting before it has been laid before the pastor and Council.

    6. It is distinctly understood that non-members have the privilege to attend church services, but have not the right to partake of the Sacrament of the Altar, administered by the pastor of the church, unless the pastor according to his conscience, and before God, finds it warranted.

    7. Anyone who has taken out license to sell intoxicating liquors or assists in the sale of such intoxicating liquors cannot become a member of this Congregation. A member who becomes associated in the above mentioned business is thereby dismissed from the Congregation. This paragraph does not refer to druggists.

    Article III

    The Pastor.


    If the Congregation decides to dismiss the pastor, or the pastor wishes to resign, in both cases three months’ notice must be given.

    Dismissal of the pastor can only take place according to the following four reasons found in Holy Scripture:

    1. Unbelief, 1 Tim. 1:18-20
    2. False Doctrines, 1 Tim. 6:3-5, 2 Tim. 1:13
    3. Disgraceful life in word and deed, 1 Tim. 4:12, Titus 2:7
    4. Unfaithfulness in the pastorate, 1 Peter 5:2; Acts 20:28 ****

    When electing a pastor two-thirds of the votes of the members present at the congregational meeting must be cast for the same person before it can be recognized as a call by the Congregation.

    Article IV

    Order of Business at Congregational Meetings.


    1. The annual meeting of the Congregation shall be held the first Monday in December, at which the Church Council and Committees for the coming year are elected. In order that a congregational meeting is legal, the time and place of such meeting shall be announced two Sundays previous to the meeting at the Sunday morning services.

    2. When members wish to express their opinions, he or she must arise and obtain the floor. In expressing themselves, members may touch only upon the subject under discussion. Only one member may have the floor at one time. Any one making a motion must if requested by the president or any member of the Congregation, give such motion in writing.

    When a member has been assigned the floor to bring forth a matter for discussion, no other subject may be accepted before the pending question has been closed.

    Matters of greater importance must be decided by ballot if one-fifth of the voting members present so desire.

    5. The Congregation demands that sponsors in the church shall be members of an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation regardless whether the child’s parents are church members or not.

    6. When non-members wish to make use of the church for weddings or funerals, they must receive permission from the pastor, and also pay ten dollars ($10.00) in advance to the janitor for the privilege. No one dying from contagious disease may be brought into the church.

    If a change is to be made in any paragraph of these By-Laws a motion to that effect must be laid before the Church Council in writing, but cannot become law before it has been discussed at two different congregational meetings, and adopted by two thirds of the voting members present.

    These By-Laws were revised, translated and became effective January 1, 1925.

    E.R. Anderson, pastor; J. J. Lange, president:

    M. Andersen, secretary.


    S. Hansen

    W. Christensen

    O. Scheel


    A. Jacobsen

    C. Monefeldt

    M. Jepsen

    J. Poulsen

    J.A. Andersen

    N.P. Nelson

    C. Christensen

    EDITOR’S NOTES (2007)


    * The 1925 Constitution records in a footnote: “A Congregation meeting was held on March 21, 1876, and a motion was carried to call this Church ‘EMAUS’.” (Back)

    ** Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

    But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
    And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. –Matthew 18:15-18, KJV (Back)

    *** To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ. — 2 Corinthians 2:10, KJV (Back)

    **** This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

    Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

    Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. –1 Timothy 1:18-20, KJV

    If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
    He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

    Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. –1 Timothy 6:3-5
    Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. –2 Timothy 1:13, KJV

    Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. –1 Timothy 4:12, KJV

    In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity. –Titus 2:7, KJV

    Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. –1 Peter 5:2, KVJ

    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. –Acts 20:28, KJV. (back)

    The above was transcribed on January 15, 2007. Capitalizations, punctuation, and other elements of style are as printed in “Constitution of the First Scandinavian Evang. Lutheran Church of Racine, Wisconsin,” printed by Danish Lutheran Publishing House of Blair, Nebraska, presumably in 1924 or 1925.

    A copy of this Constitution was given to Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church of Racine, Wisconsin, by the estate of Miss Alice Klingberg in July, 1996. According to the 1924 Budget (“Regnskab over Den første skandinaviske evang. lutherske Menighed, Racine, Wis. for Aaret 1924”) included in an envelope with this copy of the Constitution, the President of the congregation was John Lange; the Secretary of the Congregation was Mickel Andersen; and the Treasurer was Søren A. Hansen. The Trustees of the congregation were William Christensen, Oscar Scheel, and Soren A. Hansen (sic). The Deacons were Anton Jacobsen, Martinus Jepsen, Thomas Sundsted, Carl Monefeldt, Julius Poulsen, N. T. Nelsen, and Chris Christensen.