Where do pastors come together?

Structures and numbers

Numbers and statistics are only of limited use when it comes to getting an idea of ​​the spiritual greatness, vitality and importance of a church.
This applies in particular to the Lutheran Church, whose essential message is to proclaim man's justification to God solely by grace and without merit or achievement, to give consolation when people suffer from pressure to perform and succeed and do not know how to do it to meet the daily demand for efficiency.
Nevertheless, we would like to give you some figures and statistical information and at the same time invite you to attend the services and community events of our “little big” church to convince yourself that numbers are not everything.

33,474 church members, 29,279 confirmed and 4,195 non-confirmed members belong to the SELK (as of December 31, 2016). Nationwide, the SELK has 174 parishes in 111 parishes.

102 pastors in the community service, 10 ordained in supra-community offices, 2 pastoral officers and 5 full-time church musicians are in the full-time service of the SELK. There are also 6 volunteer pastors and 5 parish deacons who volunteer in the parishes.

In 2016, the church members of the SELK raised a total of 8,749,096.00 euros in church contributions for the general church treasury - and thus primarily for the remuneration and care of the clergy. In addition, there are donations for total church salary and supply funds in the amount of 156,856.25 euros and collections for church institutions and works in the amount of 296,419.93 euros as well as collections and donations for the local parishes and other cross-community purposes.

The salary of a pastor of the SELK is 78% of the basic salary of the salary group A13 / A14 according to the Federal Salary Act in the version applied by the SELK.

The current church statistics can be found here:
PDF file | 2.1 MB

Structure and structures of the SELK
"The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church is divided into parishes and parishes. Several parishes form a church district."
(Basic order, Article 10).

The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) combines episcopal (episcopal) with synodal structures. Ordained and non-ordained work together at all church levels of decision-making, whereby it is ensured that the totality of the non-ordained cannot overrule the totality of the ordained. The synods do not see themselves as “church parliaments”, even though they are established and their rules of procedure are based on democratic practices, but rather as spiritual governing bodies of the church, which, if possible, make their decisions not according to the majority principle, but with spiritual unanimity. The tiered and regulated coexistence of episcopal and synodal structures is evident in the interplay of pastors and church councils or community assemblies at community level, district parish conventions and district synods at church district level, general parish convention and church synod as well as the composition of the church leadership at the church-wide level.

The Parishes (also called parishes) with one or more parishes each have their own parish office and are headed by one or more pastors, whom one Church council stands by your side. The community assembly makes important decisions. Several parishes in geographical proximity form one Church district (in some of the predecessor churches of the SELK and to this day in Saxony-Thuringia also called "Diocese") under a superintendent. The superintendent elected by the parish convention or the synod of the church district has the particular task of overseeing the correct proclamation of the gospel and the proper administration of the sacraments, holding regular visitations and being pastor and advisor to the pastors of his church district.

Exist in all church districts Church District Advisory Councilsconsisting of the superintendent, a pastor and several lay people who are elected by the church district synod. The advisory board is the governing body of a church district between the church district synods. "The district advisory board supports the superintendent in the exercise of his office and takes on tasks of leadership in the church district." (Basic order, Article 14.5)

The ordained clergy of a church district form the Church District Parish Convention. “The district parish convention should promote unity in teaching and action, cultivate fraternal cooperation and contribute to scientific and practical training.” (Basic order, Article 14.3) In addition, parish conventions can submit applications to the general parish convention and the synods.

Every church district has one Church District Synodwhich consists of delegates from all parishes. The synod includes the pastors, lay delegates from the congregations and other synodals, e.g. representatives for certain areas of work (youth, mission, etc.). Church district synods usually meet annually, in some church districts every two years.
“The district synod takes decisions in its area of ​​responsibility and gives suggestions for the church's work. In doing so, she has to observe the general church order. "(Basic order, Article 14.4)

In all church districts (through the church district synods) there are synodal for the Church Synod elected.
The election takes place for a four-year synodal period, during which the synod can meet for up to four synodal sessions.
One of the main tasks of the Church Synod is, among other things, to decide on the motions that are addressed to it, to discuss questions of doctrine, worship and church practice and to comment on the resolutions passed by the General Parish Convention; to decide on general church orders, including amendments to the basic order; to elect the bishop and the church councils and to confirm the calling of the executive church council to decide on proposals of the general parish convention on pulpit and communion fellowship with other churches to accept other churches into the independent Evangelical Lutheran Church and the acceptance of congregations into the church to confirm, to set the order, the principles and the guidelines of the financial budget of the church and to receive the accounts of the church financial budget and to give discharge.
Resolutions on changes to the basic order, on the admission of other churches and the determination of pulpit and communion require a majority of two thirds of all synodals, but unanimity should be sought. All other resolutions can be passed with a simple majority of the synodal members present.
The church's state of confession cannot be changed by resolution of the church synod. Resolutions that contradict the Holy Scriptures and the creed of the Church are invalid.

At the level of the Church as a whole, the Church Synod corresponds to General parish convention (APK), which consists of all ordained bearers of the office of proclamation and administration of the sacraments and meets every four years. The general parish convention is intended to promote the solidarity of all ministers of the church with one another. Its tasks include, in particular, to advise on the state, path and task of the church, to advise on questions of doctrine, worship and church practice and to pass resolutions, which, however, require the consent of the Church Synod if they are binding should have for the church. The APK also submits proposals to the Church Synod on pulpit and communion fellowship with other churches and names the candidates to submit for the election of the bishop.

All the superintendents, the provosts, and the bishop make it up College of Superintendents (KollSup), which meets twice a year. One of the essential tasks of the KollSup is to take a stand on questions of doctrine and spiritual life that have effects on the whole Church, to prepare the General Parish Convention, to appoint the members of the committees for theological examinations and colloquia, to assign the position and budget to approve ordinations and qualifications for the parish office.

The Church leadership consists of the bishop, the provosts and the church councilors elected by the church synod. It meets regularly under the chairmanship of the bishop. Apart from the bishop, the number of non-ordained is the same as that of the ordained. The church government exercises the direction and administration of the church under the chairmanship of the bishop. The executive church council is appointed jointly by the church leadership and the college of superintendents and confirmed by the church synod.

The Toast exercise the regional episcopal spiritual leadership in a specific geographic region, which includes two to three church districts. Together with the superintendents, the provosts watch over the correct proclamation of the Gospel and the proper administration of the sacraments. They hold visits, especially to the superintendents and their communities, and consult regularly with the superintendents in their region. The provosts belong to the church leadership of the self-employed
Evangelical Lutheran Church, should take part in the district pastors' conventions and the district synods and give suggestions for the spiritual life and theological training of the pastors, as well as ensure that the connection to the other regions of the church is cultivated.
The provosts are nominated by the district parish councils of their regions, elected by the district parish councils and synods.
The provosts represent the church leadership in their regions and the special concerns of their regions in the church leadership.

The leading spiritual office is exercised by the bishop out. He is nominated by the General Parish Convention and elected by the Church Synod.
The bishop is a pastor of the Church who is called to lead it on a full-time basis. He serves the whole church and makes sure that the word of God is proclaimed and taught in accordance with scripture and confession and that the sacraments are administered properly. Together with the church leadership, he oversees the offices and institutions of the church. He chairs the college of superintendents and the church leadership. He can address churches and pastors in pastoral letters.
Together with the provosts and superintendents, he takes care of the ordination to the pastoral office. He introduces the provosts into their office and holds visitations, especially with the provosts and their communities. The bishop endeavors to cultivate fellowship and connection with other churches and represents the church in public. It is also one of the tasks of the bishop to bring about the position of the church on questions and tasks of the time, as required by Scripture and Confession, and to maintain contact with the theological training centers of the church.

The official seat of the bishop and the church leadership is Hanover. The bishop has his pulpit and altar in the Bethlehem Church in Hanover.