Memorials and Resolutions

Memorials and resolutions enable this church to address broad policy issues or issues important to God’s mission in the world. Memorials address broad policy issues; resolutions have a narrower focus, requesting consideration or action by individual offices or units, or the Church Council. (A resolution can be the preferred method when an issue requires a timely response.) The churchwide organization and synods of the ELCA use a process to bring forth memorials and resolutions. Memorials and resolutions are one way this church addresses broad policy issues or important issues for God’s mission in the world.

There are three different avenues of communication between the expressions of the ELCA:

  1. Synod assemblies to the Churchwide Assembly (12.21.c)
  2. Synod councils to the Church Council (14.21.11)
  3. Synod councils to a churchwide unit or office, through the Executive Committee of the Church Council. (14.41.01.b)

Helpful resources on memorials and resolutions

Memorials and Resolutions Flowchart

Memorials and Resolutions Flowchart

Download this visual overview and learn how memorials and resolutions are passed.


Guidelines for Writing Memorials and Resolutions

Guidelines for Writing a Memorial or Resolution

View these guidelines for writing an effective Memorial or Resolution.


Webinar Memorials and Resolutions

Feb. 2021 Memorials and Resolutions Webinar


Synod assemblies may pass memorials to the Churchwide Assembly. A Memorials Committee, appointed by the Church Council, receives memorials from synod assemblies and makes appropriate recommendations for assembly action. The Memorials Committee meets after all synod assemblies are over and approximately six to eight weeks before a Churchwide Assembly.

Synods councils may pass resolutions to the Church Council. They may also seek to address churchwide units and offices through resolutions. These must be submitted to the Executive Committee of the Church Council for appropriate referral. Either synod assemblies or synod councils may originate resolutions, but only synod councils can forward resolutions to the Church Council. 

Frequently, synod councils pass resolutions between meetings of the synod assemblies and forward them directly to the Church Council for consideration, or to the Executive Committee of the Church Council if the desired action involves referral to a unit or office of the churchwide organization.

Resolutions can be submitted by voting members of a congregation. Refer to your synod’s Reference and Counsel Committee or Resolutions Committee for details on properly submitting a resolution or memorial to your synod council or synod assembly.

More resources, including suggestions for reference and counsel committees and resolutions committees, can be found here.

Other resources include the recording and slides from the Feb. 2021 Memorials and Resolutions webinar. Access the Guidelines for Memorials and Resolutions memo here.