Constitution

1. NAME

The name of the association shall be the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches of Australia Inc (FECA).

2. DEFINITIONS

In this constitution the following terms shall have the following meanings except where the context requires otherwise:

2.1 "Associations" shall mean any denominational associations which members may have;

2.2 "Council" means the council of FECA as set out in clause 7.1 of this Constitution;

2.3 "Executive Committee" means the committee of management of FECA as set out in clause 7.2 of this Constitution.

2.4 "FECA" means the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches of Australia;

2.5 "General Meeting" means a general meeting of the Council of FECA convened in accordance with this Constitution;

2.6 "Member" means a full member of FECA in accordance with clause 6.1 of this Constitution;

2.7 "Special Resolution" is a resolution of which at least 3 months notice has been given to members in accordance with this Constitution and which is passed by a majority of not less than three-quarters of the members of FECA who are present and vote at a general meeting;

2.8 "the Act" means the Associations Incorporations Act 1985.

3. OBJECTS

The objects and purposes of FECA shall be:

3.1 To promote the proclamation of the Gospel and the holiness of the people of God by encouraging the establishment and growth of true evangelical churches in Australia, while respecting existing loyalties within evangelical denominations.

3.2 To stimulate and encourage a spirit of Christian love and fellowship between congregations and individual Christians.

3.3 To give whole-hearted support to fundamental missionary enterprise, both at home and abroad.

3.4 To contend for the faith.

4. POWERS

FECA shall have all the powers conferred by section 25 of the Act.

5. ACTIVITIES

5.1 Communication

The establishment of a regular newsletter or paper containing news, articles, useful book reviews, etc.

5.2 Conferences

For leaders, especially those ministering the Word; for fellowship, prayer, and following a specific course of Scriptural discussions to edify and encourage each other as shepherds.

5.3 Fellowship Functions

Occasional rallies, family conferences, Bible conferences, to draw the constituency together to share.

5.4 Ministry

To procure the ministry of men with specific gifts, to enable these gifts to be of benefit to all the churches.

5.5 Separation

Where fellowships are associated with seriously mixed and compromised bodies to encourage independency by providing wherever possible those services normally provided by the denominations, but being careful to retain the character of a fellowship without legal and organisational ties.

5.6 Theological Education

To consider for recommendation and/or endorsement, sound institutes of Biblical study for the purpose of providing competent evangelical ministry not only for present churches but for those emerging from unions. To encourage fellowships to "thrust forth labourers" under God's direction, into His harvest - meaning seek out and send those whom God has called into full-time service. Some form of Theological training by Extension may be sought for men now untrained who are already involved in regular ministry.

5.7 Extension

By contacting, and in an advisory and supporting capacity to encourage evangelical groups to form themselves into particular churches, preaching the Word, offering the ordinances of the Lord's Supper and Baptism, and exercising Biblical discipline.

6. MEMBERSHIP

6.1 Members

6.1.1 Full Membership of FECA shall consist of congregations and groups which:

6.1.1.1 subscribe to the Constitution and Statement of Faith;

6.1.1.2 are vitally and actively interested in the objects of FECA;

6.1.1.3 are evangelical in their doctrine and associations;

6.1.1.4 have a membership of five or more adults;

6.1.1.5 are a legally incorporated entity;

6.1.1.6 who have made a written application to the Executive Committee (whose application is seconded by a Member of FECA) and whose application has been accepted by the Executive Committee and ratified by the Council.

6.1.2 An application for membership shall be made in writing to the Executive Committee, which shall consider and accept or reject it in the Executive Committee's absolute discretion. If the application is accepted, the applying congregation shall be accepted as provisional members, until the Executive Committee's decision is ratified by the Council.

6.1.3 Each Member shall be entitled to two votes.

6.2 Subscriptions

6.2.1 An annual membership fee is payable to FECA by Members except where exceptional circumstances apply and shall be determined by the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Annual General Meeting.

6.2.2 If necessary, a request for funds may be made by the Executive Committee or the Council to Members.

6.3 Resignations

6.3.1 A Member may resign by giving written notice to the Secretary or Public Officer of FECA.

6.4 Termination of Membership

6.4.1 Subject to giving a Member an opportunity to be heard or to make a written submission, the Executive Committee may resolve to terminate that group's membership or association with FECA upon a charge or a serious breach of this Constitution, or a departure from adherence to the Statement of Faith or other misconduct detrimental to the interests of FECA and to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ;

6.4.2 Particulars of the charge shall be communicated to the group or person at least one month before the meeting of the Executive Committee at which the matter will be determined;

6.4.3 The determination of the Executive Committee shall be communicated to the group, and in the event of an adverse determination the group's membership shall (subject to clause 6.6.4 below) cease within 14 days after the Executive Committee has communicated its determination to the group;

6.4.4 It shall be open to the group to appeal the expulsion to FECA at a general meeting. The intention to appeal shall be communicated within 14 days after the Executive Committee has communicated its decision to the group.

6.4.5 In the event of an appeal under sub-clause 6.4.4 above, the group's membership shall not be terminated unless the determination of the Executive Committee to terminate the group's membership is upheld by the Council in general meeting after the group has been heard by the Council and in such an event the group's membership shall be terminated at the date of the general meeting at which the determination of the Executive Committee is upheld.

6.5 Register of Members

A register of Members shall be kept which will contain:

6.5.1 the name and address of each Member;

6.5.2 the date they were admitted into FECA (if known);

6.5.3 (if applicable) the date of resignation from, or the date and reasons for any termination of, membership or association with, FECA.

6.6 Change in Members' Status

6.6.1 If any Member's own membership shall fall below five adults for a twelve month period its status shall revert to a provisional membership with no voting rights, until its membership returns to at least five adults.

6.6.2 If any Member fails to return an annual adherence form by the due date its status shall revert to a provisional membership with no voting rights and no marriage celebrants, until the form is lodged.

6.6.3 If any Member fails to pay the annual membership fee by the end of the financial year its status shall revert to a provisional membership with no voting rights and no marriage celebrants, until it pays the membership fee in full.

6.7 Assistance to Members

6.7.1 Any Member may seek assistance from FECA in the event that their membership is at such a level that independent governance or pulpit supply is made difficult. FECA's assistance shall be advisory and supportive only.

6.7.2 Adherence to Constitution

Members shall be required to affirm their adherence to this Constitution annually.

7. GOVERNMENT

7.1 The Council

7.1.1 The ultimate government of FECA shall be by the Council consisting of two representatives of each Member.

7.1.2 FECA is not to be considered in any sense as denominational in its function save for the purposes of the civil law, and the relationship of the Council to the Members is advisory only.

7.1.3 The Council has the sole and exclusive authority to nominate individuals to civil authorities for appointments as authorised marriage celebrants and to withdraw their sponsorship or accreditation for such purposes.

7.1.4 Council shall meet at least annually.

7.1.5 The quorum for a meeting of Council shall consist of seven Members.

7.1.6 Meetings of Council shall be chaired by the President and in his absence one of the two Vice-Presidents.

7.1.7 Decisions of the Council shall be made by majority vote save where a special resolution is required by this Constitution.

7.2 Executive Committee

7.2.1 The day to day management of FECA shall be vested in the Executive Committee which shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Secretary and not less than three or more than six other members, such number as determined each year by the Executive Committee.

7.2.2 The Executive Committee shall meet when necessary between Council meetings.

7.2.3 The quorum for a meeting of the Executive Committee shall consist of four members of the Executive Committee.

7.2.4 The chairman of the Executive Committee shall be the President and in his absence one of the Vice-Presidents.

7.2.5 Members of the Executive Committee must be authorised representatives of Members of FECA and must be natural persons.

7.2.6 The first Executive Committee of FECA shall comprise those persons holding office prior to incorporation.

7.2.7 The first Executive Committee shall hold office until the first annual general meeting after incorporation. At this time, and at each annual general meeting thereafter, the positions of the members of the Executive Committee who wish to continue in office shall be subject to ratification by the Council.

7.2.8 Should any person seek election to the Executive Committee, notice must be given to all Members with the notice calling the meeting at which the election shall take place.

7.2.9 The Executive Committee shall appoint a public officer as required by the Act.

7.2.10 The Executive Committee may appoint a person to fill a casual vacancy and such an Executive Committee member shall hold office until the annual general meeting.

7.2.11 Questions arising at any meeting of the Executive Committee shall be decided by a motion passed by at least 75% of the members present at that meeting.

7.2.12 The office of a member of the Executive Committee shall become vacant if such a member:

7.2.12.1 is disqualified from being a member by the Act;

7.2.12.2 is permanently incapacitated by ill health;

7.2.12.3 the FECA Member, of which the member of the Executive Committee is a member, ceases to be a Member of FECA;

7.2.12.4 the member of the Executive Committee ceases to be an authorised representative of a Member of FECA.

8. THE SEAL

8.1 FECA shall have a common seal upon which its name shall appear in legible characters.

8.2 The seal shall not be used without the express authorisation of the Executive Committee and every use of the seal shall be recorded in the minute book of FECA.

8.3 The affixing of the seal shall be witnessed by two members of the Executive Committee.

9. GENERAL MEETINGS

9.1 Annual General Meetings

9.1.1 The Executive Committee shall call an annual general meeting in accordance with the Act and this Constitution.

9.1.2 The first annual general meeting shall be held within 18 months after the incorporation of FECA and thereafter within 5 months of the end of its financial year.

9.1.3 The order of business at the annual general meeting shall be:

9.1.3.1 the confirmation of minutes of the previous annual general meeting and any special meetings held since that meeting;

9.1.3.2 the consideration of the accounts and reports of the Executive Committee and any auditor's report;

9.1.3.3 the ratification or election of members of the Executive Committee;

9.1.3.4 any other business requiring consideration by the Council.

9.2 Special General Meetings

9.2.1 The Executive Committee may call a special general meeting of the Council at any time.

9.2.2 Any 3 Members may by notice in writing require the Executive Committee to call a special general meeting of the Council at any time and the Executive Committee shall within one month of the receipt of such a requisition convene a special general meeting of the Council.

9.3 Notice of General Meetings

9.3.1 Subject to sub-clause 9.3.2 at least 14 days notice of any general meeting shall be given to Members. The notice shall set out where and when the meeting shall be held and the particulars and nature and order of business to be transacted at the meeting.

9.3.2 A notice of a meeting where a special resolution is to be proposed shall be given at least 3 months before the date of the meeting.

9.4 Proceedings at General Meetings

9.4.1 General meetings are meetings of the Council.

9.4.2 The provisions of sub-clause 7.1 apply to general meetings.

10. MINUTES

10.1 Proper minutes of all general meetings and of the meetings of the Executive Committee shall be entered in minute books kept for the purpose as soon as is practicable after such meetings.

10.2 The minutes kept under this rule shall be confirmed by the Members or the members of the Executive Committee at a subsequent meeting.

11. FINANCE AND FINANCIAL REPORTING

11.1 Finance

11.1.1 All expenses of FECA shall be met by the membership fees and if necessary by requests to Members.

11.2 Financial Year

The first financial year of FECA shall be the period ending on the 30 June next following incorporation, and thereafter a period of 12 months commencing on 1 July and ending on 30 June of each year.

11.3 Accounts to be kept

FECA shall keep and retain such financial accounting records as are necessary to record and explain the financial transactions and financial position of FECA in accordance with the Act.

12. NOT FOR PROFIT

The assets and income of the Fellowship shall be applied solely in furtherance of its stated objects and no portion shall be distributed for individual personal gain but only as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the Fellowship.

13. AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION

This Constitution shall be changed only by a special resolution at a special general meeting of the Council, or at an annual general meeting. For the avoidance of doubt a special resolution is as defined in sub-clause 2.7 of this Constitution.

14. WINDING UP

14.1 FECA may be wound up in the manner provided for in the Act.

14.2 In the event of FECA ceasing to function, any assets remaining after the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities shall pass to another/other non-profit body/bodies with similar or compatible objects.