The Constitution of the Mission Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda
Under the Patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda
Adopted by the Bishops of The Society on 18th July 2011
OBJECTS OF THE CHARITY
1. The Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda (hereafter called The Society) is an ecclesial body within the Church of England whose purposes are:–
to guarantee to churches and institutions which identify with it and individuals who join it, a ministry in the historic apostolic succession in which they can have confidence;
to provide episcopal oversight to which those churches, institutions and individuals will freely submit themselves;
to promote and maintain for the benefit of the public catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England.
2. In particular The Society is a part or portion of the Catholic Church where ministry will be sacramentally assured. The Society is committed to mission, to the catholic identity of the Church of England and to the furtherance of unity with the great Churches of East and West and in particular with the ARCIC agenda. The understanding of The Society includes the doctrine of Reception and therefore the necessary provisionality of decisions made in the Church of England which touch on matters of universal or catholic consent.
3. Membership of The Society shall be open to churches, institutions and individuals in communion with the Sees of Canterbury and York who practice the Christian faith as received by the Church of England and as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 above.
4. Application for membership shall be on the prescribed form –
churches are required to apply following the passing of a resolution by the parochial church council or guild church council;
institutions are required to apply following the passing of a resolution by the governing body of the institution;
individuals shall declare that they are communicants of the Church of England or a Church in communion with the Church of England and in agreement with the Objects of The Society.
5. Applications for membership shall be determined by the Bishops’ Council of The Society.
6. The governance of The Society shall be vested in a Bishops’ Council (hereafter called the Council) consisting of –
diocesan bishops, area bishops and suffragan bishops of the Church of England in agreement with the Objects of The Society;
the provincial episcopal visitors;
bishops designated to act as diocesan or regional episcopal visitors;
such other bishops who are in agreement with the Objects of The Society as shall be invited to be members of the Council.
7. The term of office of members of the Council shall be –
(a) ex officio members shall serve for so long as they hold the office referred to in paragraph 6(a), 6(b) or 6(c) above;
(b) bishops referred to in paragraph 6(d) above shall serve for the term of four years but may be invited to serve for a further term or terms.
8. All property of The Society shall for legal purposes be vested in seven trustees appointed by the Council consisting of –
three members of the Council;
two priests or deacons who are members of The Society;
two lay persons who are members of The Society.
9. The term of office of trustees shall be –
for members of the Council, six years except that, in the first six years, one bishop shall retire after two years, one shall retire after four years and one shall serve for the full six year term;
for trustees referred to in paragraphs (b) and (c), four years except that in the first four years one priest or deacon and one lay person shall retire after two years and the remaining two shall serve for the full term.
Any trustee who retires in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph may be re-appointed for a further term or terms except that a trustee who has served for three consecutive terms of office must take a break from office and may not be re-appointed until the anniversary of the commencement of his or her break from office.
10. The Council shall have power to appoint such other committees as are deemed necessary for the carrying out of the Objects of The Society with such membership and for such term of office as the Council considers appropriate.
11. The Council may appoint regional committees (the membership to be determined by the Council) with such powers and duties in respect of the churches and clergy of The Society in that region as the Council shall deem appropriate.
12. The Council may summon a Sacred Synod when it is deemed appropriate consisting of bishops, clergy and lay persons as the Council shall designate and shall summon such a Synod when petitioned so to do by no fewer than fifty clergy and fifty lay persons who shall all be members of The Society.
CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION
13 Twenty clergy or twenty lay persons (who shall all be members of The Society) may submit proposals for the alteration of the Constitution.
14. The proposals shall be considered by the Council who may agree to make the alterations or not as the Council deems appropriate. If the decision is to refuse to make the alterations, the Council shall notify the petitioners together with the Council’s reasons for the decision. Following the notification, clergy and lay persons may petition, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 12 above, for a Sacred Synod to be summoned.
15 Where a Sacred Synod considers a proposal for the alteration of the Constitution, the Council may declare that a special majority of two thirds of the persons attending the Synod shall be required for the resolution to be carried.
16. If any property remains after the Charity has been wound up or dissolved and the debts and liabilities have been satisfied, it may not be paid to or distributed among the members of the Charity but must be given to some other institution or institutions with similar objects which is or are regarded as charitable under the law of every part of the United Kingdom. The institution or institutions to benefit may be chosen by resolution of the members at or before the time of winding up or dissolution, and subject to any such resolution of the members, may be chosen by resolution of the Trustees at or before the time of winding up or dissolution. ND