Organizational structure of the Church
The structure of the EKHN emanates from the “grass-roots level”. Every six years the parishes elect new parish councils. The council represents the parish in spiritual, as well as in legal matters. It elects the parish minister, it is responsible for financial matters and real estate, and it hires all employees.
By virtue of their office parish ministers are church council members. But they have only one vote, the same as lay members. Cooperation between ordained and nonordained persons is a basic principle in decision-making bodies of the EKHN.
The EKHN has a three-stage structure: Parish, deanery as “church in the region”, and the church at large. Members of the parish council elect the members of the synods of the deaneries, and these elect the Church Synod.
The EKHN Church Synod, headed by the honorary “Präses” (i.e. Speaker of the Synod), exercises spiritual leadership and maintains ecclesiastic order in the church as a whole. It represents the church in external matters and it decides in overall theological, legal, and financial matters. The synod elects the Church President and other church leaders, such as Provosts, who are comparable to regional bishops. They are members of the Church Board together with lay persons and other church officials.
One can say that the entire EKHN is based on the synod principle. Therefore office holders always have limited terms. All ministers hold in each case a particular office. However, the EKHN also deliberately deploys non-ordained persons in positions of spiritual leadership.