Ecclesia of Women in Asia

Forum of Asian Catholic Women Theologians

THE CONSTITUTION AND BYE-LAWS OF ECCLESIA OF WOMEN IN ASIA.


The Ecclesia of Women in Asia was conceived and instituted in 2002 by Asian Catholic women theologians.

Vision-Mission Statement
Ecclesia of Women in Asia is committed to the formation of inclusive and just ecclesial communities and societies by doing theology from Asian women's perspectives and by the recognition of Asian Catholic women as equal partners in the life of the Church.

Article I—Name and Logo
This organization is called the Ecclesia of Women in Asia, hereinafter referred to as "EWA".
The logo is a picture of the globe with women encircling it symbolizing the spirit of women building inclusive communities.

Article II—Basis
Faith in God the Source of all Being, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Article III—Aims
The Ecclesia of Women in Asia aims:
To gather the voices of Asian Catholic women theologians and make these heard;
To give visibility to the contribution of Asian women in shaping and transforming the Church and world;
To express the desire of women to be respected as fully responsible ecclesial partners and leaders in the life of the Church;
To recognize and actualize woman as image of God; and
To endeavor to build communities that are inclusive, equitable, sustainable and just at local, regional and global levels,

Article IV—Objectives
EWA encourages and assists Catholic women in Asia to engage in research, reflection and writing from a feminist perspective towards doing theology that:
a. Is inculturated and contextualized in Asian realities;
b. Builds on the spiritual experience and praxis of the socially excluded;
c. Promotes mutuality and the integrity of creation;
d. Dialogues with other disciplines, Christian denominations and religions/faiths.

Article V—Membership
Section 1  Types of Membership
Membership in EWA is either active or associate.
Active membership is open to Catholic women who:
a. are engaged in academic theology, religious studies or related
disciplines, pastoral education and advocacy work for women;
b. subscribe to the aims and objectives of EWA;
c. have participated in at least one EWA conference;
d. live and work in Asia.

In exceptional cases, active membership can be conferred upon a Catholic woman who meets a, b, c requirements but is living and working outside Asia provided she has been recommended by the Coordinating Team, and her membership has been ratified by at least two-thirds (2/3) of the active members present at the Conference.

Associate membership is open to Catholic women and those from other Christian denominations who meet a, b and c requirements above but live or work outside of Asia.
In exceptional cases, women of different religions can be admitted as associate members subject to discussion of their qualifications that merit this status, upon a recommendation of the Coordinating Team, and by vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the active members present at the Conference.

Section 2— Procedure for Membership
The procedure for becoming a member is as follows:

a. Application for membership is open to anyone who fulfils the criteria mentioned in Section 1.
b. The applicant applies for membership in writing to the Coordinating Team.
c. The Coordinating Team evaluates the applications in accordance with Article V, Section 1. All applications must be presented at the General Assembly and those recommended by the Coordinating Team must be confirmed by at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the active members present in the Conference, who are the ultimate decision-making body with regard to membership. The General Assembly includes associate members who do not vote.

Section 3—Obligations and Responsibilities of Members
a. To work with EWA to achieve its mission.
b. To contribute to the financial support of EWA in accordance with a plan drawn up by the Coordinating Team and approved by the active members present at the Conference.

Section 4—Change of Status
The Coordinating Team is responsible for reviewing, in consultation with the member concerned, the status of any member (active or associate) either on its own initiative or as requested by the member. It is also responsible for recommending any change of status for decision by the active membership present at the Conference.

Section 5—Disaffiliation
Should a member cease to fulfill the requirements, obligations and responsibilities of membership (Article V, Section 1 and 3), notice must be given to the member not less than three months before the Conference. The active members in the Conference, after due consideration, may decide with a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the vote cast, that the said person no longer be a member.

Article VI— General Assembly
The active and associate members present at the conference comprise the General Assembly.
The General Assembly meets ideally once in every two years at the end of the EWA Conference. It decides the theme and proposes the venue and dates for the next conference.
The legislative power of EWA is vested in the active members present in the Conference.
Decisions on matters requiring official action shall be decided by at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of active members.

Section 1 —Voting
a. Active members have voting rights.
b. Voting is done through voting cards distributed in proportion to the number of active members present per country as follows:
1- 2 members, 1 vote ; 3-5 members, 2 votes, 6 or more members, 3 votes.
c. Associate members do not have voting rights but may participate in the deliberations.

Article VII—Coordinating Team
The Coordinating Team is the executive body of EWA.

Section 1―Composition
It is composed of the elected officers and consultants.
The elected officers are:
a. Coordinator
b. Executive Coordinator
c. Secretary
d. Treasurer
The consultants are:
a. immediate past coordinator
b. two other consultants appointed by the Coordinating Team


Section 2―Qualifications and Functions
In order to be eligible for election or appointment a candidate must:
a. fulfill the conditions of active membership;
b. have regular internet access;
c. have participated in at least two EWA Conferences.
Those who have been members of the Coordinating Team for the past two consecutive terms are not eligible to serve on the Coordinating Team for the following term, with the exception of the Coordinator who may serve as ex-Officio Consultant.

Coordinator— The Coordinator has the following responsibilities:
a. presides at business meetings of the General Assembly and the Coordinating Team and performs the other duties incumbent upon her office;
b. ensures the smooth functioning of the Association in line with its vision and mission;
c. facilitates the planning, implementation and evaluation of the EWA conference;
d. issues the Call for Papers for the EWA conference;
e. submits project proposals to funding agencies and a report of the Conference to them in coordination with the Treasurer;
f. functions as liaison officer between EWA and other theological associations/religious organizations or delegates this task to another EWA member;
g. submits to the Coordinating Team and the General Assembly a complete report of the activities of the Association during her term.
The Coordinator must hold a doctoral degree in theological or religious studies.

Assistant Coordinator— The Assistant Coordinator:
a. assists the Coordinator in her duties and assumes the responsibilities of the
Coordinator when she is not present at a meeting or if she does not participate in team discussions in cyberspace for two weeks;
b. facilitates and promotes the posting of material on the website together with the website coordinator;
c. informs the Election Committee about the election procedure.

Treasurer—The Treasurer:
a. manages the funds of EWA;
b. submits, together with the Coordinator, project proposals to funding agencies and the necessary reports at the end of the Conference or the project;
c. works closely with the EWA bank account holder to make available updated information regarding receipt of funds, balance and other bank transactions;
d. presents an annual financial report as of 31st December to the Coordinating Team by February of the following year and a consolidated report to the next General Assembly;
e. maintains a file of correspondence with funding agencies and at the end of her term, submits the original to the bank account holder and a copy to the incoming treasurer;
f. maintains a statement of accounts with supporting vouchers and at the end of her term submits the same to the bank account holder and a copy of the statement to the incoming treasurer.

Secretary—The Secretary:
a. keeps a record of the decisions of the Coordinating Team and the minutes of the business meeting of the General Assembly;
b. facilitates the processing of membership applications and maintains the register of members with their updated curriculum vitae;
c. circulates the Call for Papers/Participants for the EWA Conference;
d. communicates with prospective participants of the EWA Conference with a copy to the Coordinating Team;
e. circulates to the members at least a month before the Conference, a list of eligible members who can be nominated as Members of the Coordinating Team;
f. circulates to the members at least a month before the Conference notice of proposed amendments to the Constitution (Article XIII);
g. moderates EWA’s yahoogroup communications;
h. performs such other duties and work as the Coordinator may from time to time assign to her.
Consultants—The Consultants function as advisers to the Coordinating Team without the right to vote. The immediate past Coordinator shall be an ex-officio Consultant even if she has already served two previous terms. The other Consultants should have been members of the Coordinating Team at least once.

Coordinating Team ― The Coordinating Team:
a. Organises the EWA Conference;
b. Identifies a Conference Contact Person and designates a member to liaise with her/him;
c. Publishes selected papers presented at the Conference;
d. Implements the resolutions of the General Assembly;
e. Identifies emerging needs and decides how to meet them in keeping with the EWA Mission Statement;
f. Is responsible to the members for its work and for the management of the funds of EWA;
g. Presents a financial report to the General Assembly;
h. Appoints an auditor at the end of each term;
i. Proposes plans for the long-term financial viability of EWA;
j. Communicates regularly and promptly among its members via email on important issues;
k. Ensures adequate representation at the Conference of the countries in the different sub-regions;
l. Evaluates proposals for amendments to the Constitution & Bye-laws and notifies the members at least a month before the General Assembly at which the amendment is put to the vote.

Section 3—Terms of Service
All the members of the Coordinating Team serve for a term of two years or until the Conference following their election or appointment. Except for the Coordinator, the rest of the officers can be reelected for another term provided they have not finished two terms on the Coordinating Team (Article VII, Section 2).


Article VIII - Supporting Team

The Coordinating Team appoints the members of the Supporting Team.
Editors of EWA Publication — The editors are active members of EWA. One of the editors must hold a doctoral degree in theological or religious studies. Editors of the previous two publications are not eligible for re-appointment to editorship.
Two or more editors select and publish conference papers and may include additional papers in the EWA publication which is launched at the following Conference. They consult and decide with the Coordinating Team regarding publication plans. They facilitate the distribution of the publication.
The incoming Editors help in the screening of abstracts of papers for presentation at the EWA Conference towards publication of articles that reflect EWA’s commitment to its Mission.
Website Coordinator―The Website Coordinator maintains and updates the EWA website to foster communications and sharing among EWA members, as well as, help promote EWA in cyberspace. She works with the Assistant Coordinator. At the end of her term she entrusts the password of the website to the next Website Coordinator. The term of the Website Coordinator is two years, open to renewal for a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Conference Contact Person―The Conference Contact Person resides in the country where the EWA conference will be held and is responsible for the local arrangements for the conference. She liaises with the designated member of the Coordinating team. She reserves and prepares the venue, arranges conference material, assists in the procuring of visas (if necessary) and undertakes any other necessary tasks. She organizes and heads a local secretariat to ensure the smooth organization of the Conference.

Bank Account Holder – The Bank Account Holder maintains the EWA bank account and updates the Treasurer regarding receipt of funds, balance and other bank transactions.


Article IX — Elections

Section 1 - Elections Committee
The Coordinating Team appoints two (2) members (active or associate) not eligible for election to the Elections Committee of EWA on the first day of the Conference.
To guide the Elections Committee, the Secretary circulates to the members at least a month before the Conference, a list of eligible members who can be nominated as Members of the Coordinating Team. During the Conference, she also provides the Elections Committee the updated curriculum vitae of nominees for the Coordinating Team.

Section 2—Duties of the Election Committee
The Election Committee:
a. posts the curriculum vitae of those eligible for nomination at the start of the conference;
b. invites nominations in writing for election to the Coordinating Team from all active members present at the Conference. A person can be nominated for more than one position;
c. certifies the eligibility of a nomination as per Article VII, Section 2 of the Constitution;
d. prepares and posts at the Conference a provisional list of nominees for each member of the Coordinating Team at least a day before the elections;
e. reminds the voters to keep in mind geographical representation of the persons being elected;
f. holds responsibility until the elections have been held.

Section 3—Election/Appointment Procedure
The members of the Coordinating Team are elected/appointed with a view to securing representation from the geographical sub-regions within Asia. The active members at the General Assembly elect the Officers by secret ballot (Article VI, Section 1b) based on the highest vote.

The newly elected Officers and the outgoing EWA coordinator meet immediately after the election to appoint two Consultants and the Website Coordinator.
The newly formed Coordinating Team takes office immediately after the election. The outgoing members of the Coordinating Team may continue to serve for a maximum of two (2) months to complete and hand over their responsibilities.
The Coordinating Team appoints the Conference Contact Person as soon as the venue of the next biennial Conference has been identified, and the incoming Editors when the theme of the next biennial Conference has been set. This should not be later than the end of the first year after the General Assembly elections.

Section 4―Vacancies
The position of any Coordinating Team member is considered vacant when the member has been absent from e-meetings for at least two (2) months and efforts to contact her have failed. The Coordinating Team fills any vacancy occurring in any elected position except for the position of Coordinator by a majority vote in its first e-meeting following the vacancy. Such vacancy shall be filled with a qualified candidate preferably from the same region as the vacating member. If the period of service of the incoming Coordinating Team member covers at least two years, this would be counted as a period of service in assessing eligibility for re-election. The replaced coordinating team member will be considered to have completed her term.

In the event of a vacancy in the position of Coordinator, the same will be filled by the Assistant Coordinator.


Article X―Finance & Property

Section 1
The funds of EWA shall come from:
a. Subscriptions of members as approved by the General Assembly;
b. Donations and legacies;
c. Income from the sale of its publications and other material, from its operations and investments, and from any other sources approved by the Coordinating Team.

Section 2
The funds specified in Article X, Section 1 above guarantee the liabilities of EWA as approved by the Coordinating Team, but not the personal debts/expenses incurred by active and associate members.


Article XI―Financial Audit and Accountability
The accounts of EWA are audited annually by an auditor appointed by the Coordinating Team. The accounts will be made accessible to any Active member for inspection.
All expenses must be approved by the Coordinating Team.
EWA is bound by signatures of its Officers and authorized persons in such circumstances as determined from time to time by the Coordinating Team.

Article XII―Dissolution
EWA may be dissolved by at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of all the members on the register of members at the time.
In the event of dissolution or winding up of EWA, all of its remaining assets after payment of liabilities shall inure and be transferred to, subject to existing laws, a non-stock non-profit corporation representing a religious order or organization with similar goals and objectives as EWA, to be identified by a majority of its members.

Article XIII―Amendments
The Constitution may be amended at any General Assembly by at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote in accordance with Article VI, Section 1.
Proposal for such an amendment may be made by any member and sent to the Coordinating Team at least three (3) months before a Conference. Notice of proposed amendments approved by the Coordinating Team shall be sent to every member of EWA at least a month before the General Assembly at which the amendment is put to the vote.
An amendment will take effect immediately upon conclusion of the General Assembly at which it is adopted.

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