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From the Pacific Southwest District Structure Committee

February 1, 2007

Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40 (KJV)

Bylaws are the fundamental rules which govern an organization. They state who may be a member, what officers will be included, how and when the organization meets to conduct its business and how the bylaws may be amended. Each zone should write basic bylaws that best describe its structure and method of transacting business. The number of articles will be determined by the size and activities of the organization. Keep your bylaws as simple as possible.

 Five articles need to be in compliance with the LWML bylaws. They are: Name, Object, Members, Representation at Conventions, and Parliamentary Authority. Have a cover page and a table of contents page; also number and date all pages. Be consistent with  terminology: society or unit, zone, district, LWML (The words International and National are no longer used.).

 Bylaws are a permanent document, intentionally difficult to change. They need to be current so they need to be reviewed every two years. Check your current bylaws for outdated procedures, contradictions, too many details or incomplete information, lack of dates, etc. Write “bylaws” as one word, not hyphenated. Do not use the word “local” with the word “society” – that is redundant. Specify who fills a vacancy in the office of president should one occur, and by what procedure.

 Use the parallel format when submitting amendments for approval to the membership, underlining the amended words and phrases. Zones usually approve society bylaws; the District Structure Committee approves zone bylaws. To expedite review of bylaws, you may e-mail or snail mail them to Marilyn Stuckwisch of the Structure Committee (address information on reverse). Allow at least thirty (30) days for the committee to review them.

Give adequate notice to the membership about the date for final approval (usually at the previous regular meeting). After final adoption, record the original date of adoption and dates of subsequent amendments at the bottom of each page. Send three copies of the final approved bylaws to the structure committee which will keep them on file. Make copies for your members.

 STANDING RULES assist in the orderly transaction of business. If you wish to suspend or change a rule more easily, it should be placed under standing rules rather than the bylaws. These rules may be suspended at any time by a majority vote or they may be amended or rescinded by a two-thirds vote.


 I.                     Name of Organization: Full, exact name; also state affiliation with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) and The Lutheran Church --Missouri Synod (LCMS).

II.                   Object (The organization’s purpose; note it is not Objective)

 III.                  Membership (qualifications—who, how membership is maintained)

 IV.                Meetings (regular, special, quorum, etc.)

 V.                  Officers (election, term, duties—include qualifications for holding office. Under length of term, include the phrase “until a successor is elected” to avoid having no officers if an emergency delays the elections. Specify the method of filling vacancies.)

 VI.                Nominations (method of securing the nominating committee—the president should not appoint it)

 VII.               Duties of officers may be stated here rather than under V.

 VIII.             Executive Committee (Of whom does that consist)

 IX.                Appointed Officers (Pastoral Counselor should be included here—term, duties, rights and privileges)

 X.                  Finances (include beginning and ending dates for the fiscal year)

 XI.                Dissolution (how many societies are need to keep from dissolving the zone)

 XII.               Parliamentary Authority: “The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the proceedings of the (name of Zone, Society) in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws.” You may add: “or Christian charity or love.” (Without such a rule, anyone so disposed can cause great trouble in a meeting.)

 XIII.             Amendments (Method of amending the bylaws) “These bylaws cannot be amended without previous notice and a two-thirds vote is needed to amend.”

 STRUCTURE COMMITTEE: Marilyn Stuckwisch , Bev Rasmussen, Justine Schulz


Snail mail: Marilyn Stuckwisch , 2233 East Behrend Dr. #185 , Phoenix , AZ 85024-1862   Telephone: 602-992-7553.