The draft Constitution and Rules were discussed by members of the Christian Philosophers Group at a Meeting held in Pembroke College, Oxford, on 22 September 1993, and ratified by the British
Society for the Philosophy of Religion at its First Annual General Meeting, held in the University College of Swansea, Wales, on 3 September 1994. Further amendments to the Constitution were
introduced at the Annual General Meeting held in Aberdeen, May 2000, with the consequence that General Meetings of the Society are to be held every other year.
Constitution and Rules
The name of the SOCIETY shall be The British Society for the Philosophy of Religion.
The Society is established to advance the education of the public in the Philosophy of Religion, with special reference to the Christian religion. It will do this in particular through the holding of conferences, the sponsoring of lectures and the promotion of the exchange of information between teachers of the subject in Universities and other institutions of education.
Ordinary Membership shall be open to all interested persons elected by the Committee on payment of the annual subscription.
Members of the SOCIETY shall also be eligible for membership of the EUROPEAN SOCIETY FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION on terms agreed by the two societies.
The management of the SOCIETY shall be directed by a Committee consisting of the Officers (namely the President, the immediate Past President, the Honorary Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer) and three other members to be known as Ordinary Members of the Committee. The SOCIETY shall have power to institute further Officers. Any regional group which is recognised by the Committee shall have the right to nominate a full member of the SOCIETY as its representative on the Committee.
A General Meeting of the Society shall be held every other year, normally in September, at which the following business shall be transacted:
The Committee shall submit a report on the activities of the SOCIETY during the past two years.
The biennial accounts shall be presented.
The election of the Committee for the ensuing two years shall take place.
Any other business shall be transacted which according to the rules of the SOCIETY shall take place at a Biennial General Meeting.
The Offices of the President, Vice-President and President-Elect shall be governed by the following rules:
The President’s term of office shall be two years. An ex-President shall be ineligible for four years after his/her retirement from the office of President.
All ex-Presidents of the SOCIETY shall be Vice-Presidents for life.
The retiring President shall be a member of the Committee for one year after his/her retirement.
At each biennial meeting the Society shall elect a President who shall serve for the next two years.
The President and all Vice-Presidents shall collectively constitute the Council of the SOCIETY. Members of the Council, individually or collectively, may bring any matter to the attention of the Committee. The Committee may at any time seek advice from some or all members of the Council. Responsibility for the management of the SOCIETY shall remain as defined by Rule 5 above.
The Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer shall each be elected for two years and may be re-elected, but normally no one person shall perform the duties of either Honorary Secretary or Honorary Treasurer for more than four years consecutively.
Each of the three Ordinary Members of the Committee shall be elected for four years after which he/she shall not be eligible for re-election in that capacity until two years have elapsed since his/her retirement. An Ordinary Member’s term may be extended by the Committee for not more than two years but only in order to avoid the election of more than two Ordinary Members of the Committee in any one year.
The agenda of the Biennial General Meeting shall be posted to Members at least ten days before the meeting.*
The Committee shall have the power to fill vacancies in its number and to fill any vacant offices until the next Biennial General Meeting. Members brought onto the Committee in this way shall each have a vote on the Committee. The Committee shall have the power to co-opt up to two additional voting members for a non-renewable term of office of up to four years. All co-options shall be reported to the SOCIETY at its next meeting.
The subscription to ordinary membership of the SOCIETY shall be decided at a General Meeting. Honorary members elected by the SOCIETY shall pay no subscription.
Persons elected to membership become members on payment of their first subscription.
A first Subscription paid between 1 January and 30 June of any year shall cover membership from 1 January of that year to 31 December of that year. A first subscription paid between 1 July and 31 December of any year shall cover membership until 31 December of the year following.
Subsequent subscription to cover membership from 1 January to 31 December of any year shall be payable on demand not earlier than September of the preceding year.
The Committee shall have the right, for good and sufficient reason, to terminate the membership of any person, provided that the person shall have the right to attend and be heard by the Committee (save in those cases when the membership subscription is in arrears) before the decision is made.
No alteration shall be made in this Constitution and in these Rules except at a Biennial General Meeting. One month's previous notice of the alteration proposed must be given in writing to the Honorary Secretary and such alteration must be posted to members at least ten days in advance of such meeting and approved by at least three-fourths of the members present at the meeting. Provided that no alterations to Clauses 3, 18 or this clause shall take effect until the approval of the Charity Commissioners or other authority having charitable jurisdiction shall have been obtained, and no alteration shall be made which would have the effect of causing the Society to cease to be a charity at law.
If for any reason the Committee decides that it is necessary or desirable to dissolve the SOCIETY, any accounts remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts shall be applied towards charitable purposes of a like nature.
17.1 Fifteen or one tenth of the members, whichever is the greater, should form a quorum at General Meetings.
17.2 Two or one third of the members, whichever is the greater, should form a quorum at Committee Meetings.
All accounts shall be in the name of the Society, and the signature of two Committee Members should be required for all withdrawals.
* At the General Meeting held at the 2007 Conference, it was decided that in the context of clause 11 of the constitution, ‘posted’ could be taken to include being sent by email and that in future hardcopies of the agenda would be sent only to those members who had specifically asked for them or for whom we only had a land address.