Our Constitution

THE CONSTITUTION

Approved by the Trustee Board on 19 November 2003

(as amended 6 April 2009)

 

This Constitution is made in accordance with the power in the Bye Laws and Regulations of The Mothers’ Union (incorporated by Royal Charter)

  1. The name of the Association is The Mothers’ Union, Guildford Diocese.
  2. The Purpose of the Mothers’ Union is to be especially concerned with all that strengthens and preserves marriage and Christian family life.
  3. The Aim of the Society is the advancement of the Christian religion in the sphere of marriage and family life.
  4. Its Objects are:

a     To uphold Christ’s teaching on the nature of marriage and to promote its wider understanding.

b     To encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the Church.

c     To maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service.

d     To promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children.

e     To help those whose family life has met with adversity.

  1. Membership of the Mothers’ Union is open to all who have been baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity and who declare their support for the Aim and Objects of the Society.

Membership is available through Parish, Deanery, Diocese and non-parochial branches.

Members are required to pay an Annual Subscription which shall be reviewed annually by the Finance Committee and ratified by the Trustees.

  1. Management of the Mothers’ Union, Guildford Diocese, shall be by a maximum number of thirteen Trustees elected by Standing Members of Diocesan Forum and shall consist of:

The President                        Two Vice Presidents

Four Unit Co-ordinators        Six General Trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees in a non-voting capacity are:

The Diocesan Chaplain

The Treasurer

The Administrator, to act as Secretary to the Trustees

The Editor of the Diocesan Newsletter

 

7       a     No member of the Trustee Board shall acquire any interest in property belonging to the Charity (otherwise than as a Trustee of the Charity) or receive remuneration or be interested (otherwise than as a member of the Trustee board) in any contract entered into by the Trustees.

          b     A Trustee must declare any conflict of interest at the earliest opportunity and must separate themselves from any decision-making process regarding business dealings. They must withdraw whilst any discussion concerning these matters takes place.

          c     The Trustees may invite any person to the meetings to report or advise on any area of expertise in a non-voting capacity.

          d     The Trustees may co-opt a General Trustee to retain the status quo if a vacancy arises.

          e     A meeting of Trustees shall be convened by the President at least four times a year. A minimum of two weeks’ notification shall be given in writing by the forwarding of an Agenda.

          f      All decisions must be ratified by a majority of the Trustees.

  1. A Quorum of seven shall consist of:

The President or one of the Vice Presidents

One of the Unit Co-ordinators

Two General Trustees

Three other Trustee members

  1. An Annual Meeting shall be held in the first half of every year. Notification must be published throughout the Diocese for at least three weeks prior to the date of the meeting.  Members of Forum shall be personally notified and any member may attend.

10     Diocesan Forum exists as a platform for discussion and information.

          Diocesan Forum shall consist of the following:

                   The Trustees

                   Deanery Co-ordinators or Contacts

Branch Leaders or Contacts or their nominated representatives

                   The Indoor Members representative

                   The Intercessory Prayer Officer

                   The Speakers’ Co-ordinator

                   The Training Officer

                   The Social Policy Officer

                   MUe representatives

          Representatives of diocesan projects (a list of these is held in the MU Office)

All Past World Wide, Provincial and Diocesan Presidents

          These shall be known as Standing Members of Forum with the power to vote at Diocesan elections.

          In the event of individuals fulfilling multiple roles, they shall be entitled to one vote.

          Those invited to attend in a non-voting capacity are:

                   The Diocesan Chaplain

                   The Treasurer

                   The Administrator, to act as Secretary

                   The Editor of the Newsletter

            Anyone holding office at national level and living in the Diocese.

 

Forum shall be convened at least twice a year and any member may attend.

11     a       The Diocesan Units are:

                             Action and Outreach

                             Communications

Faith & Policy

                             Finance and Central Services

Each Unit is to be administered by the Unit Co-ordinator, who will report to the Trustees.

          b       Action and Outreach Unit:

                             The Unit Co-ordinator

                             The President or Vice President ex officio

                             Two General Trustees

          c     Faith & Policy Unit:

                             The Unit Co-ordinator

                             The President or Vice President ex officio

                             A General Trustee

d       Finance and Central Services Unit:

                             The Unit Co-ordinator

                             The President or Vice President ex officio

                             The Treasurer

                             A General Trustee

The Finance Unit shall meet prior to meetings of the Trustees.

In addition to the Unit a Treasurer from each Deanery shall assist in the administration within their Deanery.

The Funds of the Charity shall be paid into an account in the name of the Charity and all cheques drawn on the account must be signed by at least two officers of the Society.

The Funds belonging to the Charity shall only be used in accordance with its Aims and Objects.

The Mothers’ Union Guildford Diocese Accounts, Annual Report and Annual Return shall comply with the obligations under the Charities Act 1993 or any statutory re-enactment or modification of that Act.

e     Communications Unit:

                             The Unit Co-ordinator

                             The President or Vice President ex officio

                             A General Trustee

Unit Co-ordinators may invite other members to assist as necessary.

12     Triennial Elections

          a     All formal members of Forum may nominate and vote for one person for each of the following Diocesan posts: President, two Vice Presidents, four Unit Co-ordinators and six General Trustees.

          b     Deanery Co-ordinators shall be appointed by their Deanery Committees and their Rural Dean shall be notified of the appointment.

          c     Branch Leaders shall be elected by Branch members with the approval of the Incumbent.

          d     Two or more nominations are needed for a name to go forward for election.

          e     When only one nominee is standing for election, a minimum of 51% of the available votes is necessary for the candidate to be elected.

          f      Not less than two months before the relevant election, nomination papers for the election of the President shall be sent out to all members of Forum, the closing date for nominations being not later than 28 days from the date of despatch from the Mothers’ Union Office.

                 Subject to the approval by the Bishop, election papers should then be issued for the process to be completed by the given election date which shall be notified on the voting paper.

          g     Not less than two months before the relevant election(s), nomination papers for all Trustee posts other than that of President shall be sent out to all members of Forum and returned within 28 days from the date of despatch from the Mothers’ Union Office. Election papers shall then be issued and Forum shall be convened in order that all those eligible to vote may meet the candidates. The election shall be completed by the given election date which shall be notified on the voting paper.

          h     All other elections shall be completed and the President notified of the results by the middle of November.

          i      All officers shall be elected for a term of three years and shall be eligible for re-election for one further term.

          j      If there is no candidate for any elected post, the Trustee Board may fill the vacancy by co-opting any member of the Mothers’ Union in Guildford Diocese. Should a vacancy occur during the first year’s term of office, it shall be filled by the person who received the next highest number of votes at the election. Vacancies occurring after the first year may be filled by co-option or election or left vacant.

          k     The President shall choose the Diocesan Chaplain in consultation with the Vice Presidents and with the approval of the Bishop.

          l      The Trustee Board shall appoint the Administrator, the Treasurer and the Editor of the Diocesan Newsletter.

13     a     In so far as the Trustees are authorised to do so, variations to the Constitution may be made by a two-thirds majority decision of the Trustees. For the avoidance of doubt this proviso would not apply where such a change would either alter the charitable status of the organisation, or undermine the overall purpose of the Charity, or amend its status as a member-led organisation.

          b     The Trustee Board shall promptly send to the Charity Commission a copy of any amendment made to this Constitution with a certified copy of the minutes.  A copy shall also be sent to Mary Sumner House.

14     Indemnity

          Except as specifically required by any law, no Board shall be liable for the acts or omissions of any other member of the Board or of any employee of the Society, or for joining in any receipt or document or for any act of conformity, or for any loss or expense happening to the Society unless the same happens from his or her own wilful default.

 

          The validity of proceedings at any meeting of the Society shall not be affected by any defect in the appointment of a member, nor by the accidental omission to give notice of the meeting to, or the non-receipt of any such notice by, any such member.

Opening and closing of Branches

          Please note the following guidance from the Central Constitution of the Mothers’ Union 2002:

          “A parochial branch may only be started with the consent of the Incumbent, and shall be run in agreement with him/her, and in accordance with the diocesan constitution.

          Should there be a question of the closure of a branch, it is requested that this should take place only after consultation with the Bishop, the Parochial Church Council, and the Diocesan President, and that six months’ notice of this intention should be given to the Mothers’ Union Diocesan Secretary.”

          From Regulations made under the Bye-Laws 11 (a) and (b).