Our constitution

Preamble

The International Rural Churches Association Europe (IRCA-Europe) is a network of people from Europe and its neighbours with a passion for rural communities, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We share our stories of struggle and our stories of hope, joined by our reliance on the land and sea for our livelihood and by determination and hope because of faith in the triune God. It is affiliated to the International Rural Churches Association (IRCA) and is the successor of the Churches European Rural Network (CERN) and the Europäischer Arbeitskreis für Landfragen (EAL).

1. The name

The complete name is « International Rural Churches Association Europe » (Irca-Europe).

IRCA-Europe is a member of the « International Rural Churches Association » IRCA.

The headquarter of IRCA-Europe is in the Germany, at the Evangelical Landjugendakademie Altenkirchen.

2. The aims

The aims and purposes of IRCA-Europe are:

(1) To encourage sustainable rural communities and practice.
(2) To be a voice for the rural community in Europe and its neighbours.
(3) To share stories and examples of good practice in rural churches and networks.
(4) To relate Christian faith and hope to rural life.
(5) To bring a European perspective to the worldwide work of IRCA.

3. Leadership group

IRCA-Europe is managed by a leadership group who is appointed at the General Meeting (GM) of IRCA-Europe.

4. Carrying out the purposes

In order to carry out the purposes, the leadership group have the power to:

(1) Raise funds, receive grants and donations.
(2) Apply funds to carry out the work of IRCA-Europe.
(3) Co-operate with and support other organisations with similar purposes.
(4) Do anything which is lawful and necessary to achieve the purposes of IRCA-Europe.

5. Membership

Organisations and people who support the work of IRCA-Europe and are aged 18 or over can apply to the leadership group to become a member. Members may be required to pay a subscription. Once accepted by the leadership group, membership lasts for 4 years and may be renewed. The leadership group will keep an up-to-date membership list. The leadership group may remove a person’s membership if they believe it is in the best interests of IRCA-Europe. The member has the right to be heard by the leadership group before the decision is made and can be accompanied by a friend.

6. Quadrennial General Meeting of Members (QGM)

(1) The QGM must be held every 4 years within the Conference, with 14 days’ notice given to all members telling them what is on the agenda. Minutes of the QGM must be kept.
(2) There must be at least 10% of members present at the QGM.
(3) Every member has one vote.
(4) The leadership group shall present their report and accounts.
(5) The meeting shall appoint an independent examiner for the accounts.
(6) Any member may stand for election to the leadership group.
(7) Between 3 and 7 members shall be elected to the leadership group to serve for the next 4 years. They can stand for re-election.

7. Meetings of the leadership group

(1) The leadership group must hold at least 2 meetings each year. At their first meeting after the QGM they will elect a chair, treasurer and secretary. The leadership group will act by majority decision. Meetings may take place face to face, or using modern communication methods.
(2) At least 3 of the leadership group must be present at meetings to be able to take decisions. Minutes shall be kept for every meeting.
(3) If a member of the leadership group has a conflict of interest she/he must declare it and leave the meeting while this matter is being discussed or decided.
(4) During the term of office, the leadership group may appoint up to 2 additional members of the group. They will stand down at the next QGM.
(5) The leadership group may make reasonable additional rules to help to run IRCA-Europe. These rules must not conflict with these guidelines or the law.

8. Money and property

(1) Money and property must only be used for purposes of IRCA-Europe.
(2) The leadership group must keep accounts. The most recent annual accounts can be seen by anybody on request.
(3) Members of the leadership group cannot receive any money or property from IRCA-Europe, except to refund reasonable out of pocket expenses.
(4) Money must be held in IRCA-Europe’s bank account. Cheques must be signed by 2 members of the leadership group.
(5) The financial year will be the calendar year.

9. Changing the guidelines and dissolution

If the leadership group considers it necessary to change these guidelines, or wind up IRCA-Europe, they must call a General Meeting so that the membership can take the decision. The leadership group must also call a General Meeting if they receive a written request from the majority of members. All members must be given 14 days’ notice and told the reason for the meeting. All decisions at a General Meeting require a two thirds majority of those who are present. Minutes must be kept.

(1) Winding up – any money or property remaining after payment of debts shall be transferred to IRCA and shall be used by IRCA only for work in the area of the former IRCA-Europe.
(2) Changes to the Guidelines can only be made at General Meetings. No change can be made that goes against the preamble and the purposes of IRCA-Europe.
(3) The leadership group may also call a General Meeting to consult the membership.

10. Setting up IRCA-Europe

The constitution was adopted on the 8th of June 2012 by the first members of IRCA-Europe.