Resolutions and Memorials

This page offers background information on resolutions and memorials for the 2022 Synod Assembly.

All resolutions/memorials must be received by the committee by April 5, 2023 in order to guarantee consideration by the assembly.

Resolutions received April 6-April 28 may be considered if the assembly agrees by a 2/3 vote. After April 28, no late resolutions will be considered.

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To assist the Synod Assembly in dealing with material that does not come to the Assembly through regular reports, committees, agencies, Synod Council, etc.

To prepare responses so that memorials and resolutions are handled in an appropriate way by the church in light of its constitution, organization, and previous history.

In response to memorials and resolutions, Reference and Counsel may exercise one of the following options as it deems appropriate:

  • (a) Recommend adoption.
  • (b) Offer a substitute.
  • (c) Recommend that the proposed matter not be adopted.
  • (d) Refer the matter to appropriate committees, boards, agencies, etc. for further consideration.
  • (e) Offer a synodical or Church minute of previous action as a response.
  • (f) Commend the resolution.
  • (g) Recommend no action.
  • (h) Recommend or reject the distribution of materials.



Normally, the “Whereas” clause(s) describe the issue, concern, problem, or basis of the resolution. “Whereas” material is not acted upon by the Assembly.

“Resolved” clause(s) point to proposed solutions and define requested action. “Resolved” clauses should be clearly defined. What should be done? To whom should the request for action be addressed? What the action may cost and how it is to be funded? When the action should be done? To whom the results should be reported?

It is important to understand that a resolution of a Synod Council can not direct the Church Council to take a specific action. Likewise, a memorial from a Synod Assembly can not order that the Churchwide Assembly vote in a particular way. A memorial, by definition, is a petition appealing for action.

Basically, the best resolutions and memorials are simple and direct. They contain a minimum of adjectives and adverbs. They avoid inflammatory words and generalized statements. They clearly and accurately state facts. They are built on straightforward nouns and verbs.

Good resolutions and memorials say, in essence, “please, this is why we think this is important and this is the action that we believe should be undertaken.”



Synod Assemblies address the Churchwide Assembly through Memorials.

Synod Councils address the ELCA Church Council through Resolutions.

Synod Councils address churchwide units through the ELCA Church Council’s Executive Committee, including forwarding actions of the Synod Assembly.

Resolutions follow a more direct route than memorials, which must go to the Churchwide Assembly, and await the assembly’s response. Memorials should be reserved, insofar as possible, for broader policy issues that belong in the Churchwide Assembly. By contrast, resolutions may receive more immediate attention.

NOTE: The synod in Assembly may address the synodical organization or civil authorities directly and through the Synod Council and Bishop.



…The Synod Assembly is a democratic process involving approximately 400 voting members.


Download Reference and Counsel Forms

Contact Rev. Jenn Casey (631-427-1575) or via email at with any questions.