This is an English translation, the original legal document Satzung ECTE (in German, 2023) is deposited together with ECTE’s registration as a non-profit organisation. These statutes were approved by the ECTE General Assembly in Larnaca, 9 March, 2023.
1. Name, Legal Address, Registration and Financial Year
1.1 The Association is called the “European Council for Theological Education”, abbreviated as ECTE.
1.2 The Association has its legal address in Korntal-Münchingen and is registered in the registry of non-profit organisations (Vereinsregister).
1.3 The financial year is the calendar year.
2. Purpose and Non-Profit status
2.1 The purpose of the association is the promotion of religion and education. This is achieved both at home and abroad, in particular by:
a) promoting and securing the quality of theological education based on uniform standards;
- b) promoting and supporting the development of theological training primarily in Europe through publications, conferences, training and the provision of further resources.
- c) strengthening the significance of theological education through networking between theological institutions, and with European higher education, international theological education and ecclesial entities.
2.2 The association pursues exclusively and directly non-profit purposes within the meaning of the section “Tax Beneficiary Purposes” of the German Tax Rules & Regulations. The association acts selflessly and does not pursue primarily economic purposes. Funds of the Association may be used only for the purposes stated in the statutes. Members do not receive remunerations from the Association. No person may be remunerated for expenses which are foreign to the purpose of the association or which are disproportionately high.
2.3 Persons who act on behalf of the association will receive reimbursements for documented reasonable expenses; the details can be regulated in separate rules and regulations for business by the Governing Board. The granting of appropriate remuneration for services is made only on the basis of a written contract. Remuneration for members of the Governing Board is to be communicated to the General Assembly.
3.1 Regular members of the Association are evangelical theological educational institutions. The ECTE Board decides on applications for membership
3.2 Associate membership (with voice, but no right of application or vote) is open to individuals and to organisations such as associations of evangelical theological institutions, churches and/or missions who subscribe to the purposes and core values of the Association. The ECTE Board decides on their admission.
3.3 A list shall be kept of the members, their legal representatives and, if appropriate, a delegate deviating from them. Any changes to the contact data, in particular also a valid e-mail address, must be communicated to the Governing Board without delay. The processing and use of the data takes place solely for association purposes in compliance with the Federal Data Protection Act (of Germany).
3.4 Membership ends:
- a) by declaration of resignation, which can be made at any time and must be declared to the Board in writing. The withdrawal shall take effect at the end of the year in which it is declared. When the withdrawal becomes effective, the former members are prohibited from continuing to refer to their membership in their publications. Any fees and contributions for the year of the withdrawal that are still due and due in the year of departure shall be paid at the latest with the declaration of withdrawal and shall not be refunded;
- b) by dissolution of the legal association;
- c) by exclusion. The exclusion takes place by resolution of the Board, if there is an important reason. An important reason exists in particular if conduct violates the interests of the Association in a gross way or if the member is in default with the payment of the fees for two years. Before the decision is made, the member shall be given the opportunity to present a written justification and objection to the Board. The exclusion decision shall be made known to the excluded by registered letter, indicating the essential reasons. A letter of appeal may be lodged against the exclusion decision within one month of receipt of the exclusion letter to the next General Assembly, which then decides finally on the decision related to the member, who shall not be present in the meeting. The appeal must be justified. In so far as this remedy is not used or is not used in time, or without justification, or if the decision is confirmed, the member submits to this decision with the result that the latter is no longer accessible to further judicial control. This is to be pointed out in the exclusion decision.
3.5 If a member ceases to operate, it must notify the Board of this without delay and the membership automatically ends.
4. Organisational Bodies
4.1 Organisational bodies of the Association are:
- the General Assembly
- the Board
- the Accrediting Commission
4.2 The members of the organizational bodies are obligated to fulfill their tasks properly, §§ 31a and 31b BGB (German Civil Code), this applies accordingly to the liability of both members and board members working for remuneration, regardless of the amount of the remuneration.
4.3 All meetings, assemblies and resolutions may be held in person, electronically or by hybrid means, as decided by the respective convening body. Insofar as the possibility of participation is also enabled by electronic means, reference must be made to the chosen method when the meeting is convened so that the respective members can ensure availability, and the specific access instructions must be communicated in good time before the meeting. The members commit not to disclose access instructions to third parties.
4.4 Resolutions shall be recorded in minutes, which shall be signed by the respective chairperson of the meeting and the keeper of the minutes, both of whom shall be appointed by the convening body. The minutes shall be sent to the members of the respective bodies in text form without delay. Objections to the correctness of the minutes of the meeting may only be raised within one month of the date of transmission. The Board shall make a final decision on objections after hearing the respective chairperson of the meeting and the keeper of the minutes.
5. The General Assembly
5.1 At least every two years, all members are to be convened at a general assembly, the date of which is announced at an early stage. The meeting is convened in writing by the Board at least 14 days before the meeting date. The invitation contains the agenda. Requests for the agenda must be received by the Board no later than 2 months before the date of the meeting. Members must register for the meeting within the deadline set by the Board and declare who is to represent them in the General Assembly.
5.2 Additional General Assemblies must be convened if the interest of the association requires it, or at least one third of the regular members of the association require the convening of the meeting in writing, specifying the purpose and reasons.
5.3 Any duly convened General Assembly shall be quorate without regard to the number of the members present.
5.4 Associate members may delegate up to two non-voting observers in an advisory capacity to the General Assembly.
5.5 The responsibilities of the General Assembly are:
- to elect the Board
- to approve the budget;
- to accept the report of the Board
- to commission an independent expert to audit the accounting and to report his/her findings to the General Assembly
- to discharge the treasurer and the Board (Entlastung erteilen)
- to approve the ECTE accreditation standards
- to discuss and decide on future activities of the association.
5.6 Decisions of the General Assembly are made by simple majority of the valid votes cast. This also applies to decisions, which are made in text form outside a general meeting. Decisions are made by public vote unless a secret ballot is requested by at least 30% of the voting members present. The General Assembly decides on amendments to the Statutes and purposes by a 2/3 majority. The Board may – by simple majority of valid votes cast -amend those parts of the statutes which have been questioned or a change has been requested by the registry or the tax authorities. These changes are to be communicated to the members in minutes.
6. The Board
6.1 The Board consists of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson, the Treasurer and two to six other persons, three of whom are, if possible, in no direct relationship with the members of the association. The Board is elected by the General Assembly by secret ballot for 4 years. The Board remains in office until a new election has been held. Re-election is possible. The Treasurer is elected internally by the Board.
6.2 According to § 26 of BGB (German Civil Code) only the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are entitled to represent the Association.
6.3 The work of the Association can be supported by staff. The General Secretary and Accreditation Director are appointed by the Board and attend the Board meetings with voice but without voting rights.
6.4 The Board ensures the day-to-day business of the Association. Its tasks are, in particular:
- to formulate and monitor the Association’s strategic plan
- to appoint the members of an Accreditation Commission and approval of its Policies and Procedures
- to appoint Visitation Evaluation Team members
- to establish the budget and monitor the handling of finances of the Association
- to decide on the admission of new members to the Association
- to set the agenda for the General Assembly including Board elections
6.4 The Board may appoint committees to deal with special issues and invite advisors.
6.5 The Board must be convened by the Chairperson at least once a year in text form at least 14 days before the intended meeting date, stating the agenda. The Board has a quorum if at least half of the members of the Board are present. Resolutions of the Board are passed by a simple majority of the valid votes cast.
6.6 Details can be defined in a business regulation.
7. Accreditation Commission
7.1 The Accreditation Committee consists of 6-11 members.
7.2 The members of the Accreditation Commission are appointed by the Board for a period of two-four years, re-appointments are possible.
7.3 Accreditation decisions are the sole responsibility of the independent Accreditation Commission.
7.4 The members can receive an attendance fee for their activities up to the actual amount of the Volunteer flat rate (Ehrenamtspauschale) (§ 3 Nr. 26a EStG). The Board decides on the amount.
7.5 Details are defined in the Accreditation Commission Policies and Procedures document which will be decided by the Board.
8. Income and Profits
8.1 Income consists of fees, asset management and grants/donations.
8.2 The General Assembly decides on the type, amount, basis and due date of the membership fee and can determine this in detail in a contribution schedule. The annual membership fee currently determined by the Annual General Meeting shall be due upon admission to the association, otherwise the dates apply as determined by the meeting. The Board may, in justified individual cases, reduce the membership fee or waive it altogether.
9. Duration and Dissolution
9.1 The Association exists for an unlimited period of time.
9.2 The dissolution of the Association can only be decided in a General Assembly with a three-quarters majority of the members present, provided that the dissolution of the association was the subject of the agenda of the meeting in question sent with the invitation. The invitation to this General Assembly must be sent out at least four weeks prior to the meeting.
9.3 In the event of the dissolution of the association or in the event that tax-privileged purposes cease to exist, the assets of the association fall to a tax-privileged body for use for non-profit purposes within the meaning of § 2 of these Statutes, i.e. for the promotion of evangelical theological training in Europe.
9.4 In the event of dissolution of the Association, the liquidation shall be carried out by the members of the Board who are in office at the time of dissolution, on the provisions governing the resolution and representation in the Articles of Incorporation unless the resolution of the General Assembly decides otherwise
The following bylaws apply to elections of Council members in the General Assembly. Adopted by the 1997 ECTE General Assembly.
- The Accrediting Council, through the General Secretary, informs the members of the vacancies to be filled in its ranks and calls for nominees to be proposed before a fixed date well in advance of the next biennial General Assembly.
- The Accrediting Council, through the General Secretary, must inform all ECTE members which persons have been nominated, on its convocation for the General Assembly.
- During the General Assembly, nominations from the floor are excluded. It is determined by the Council how many members are to be elected.
- The General Assembly elections are chaired by a person selected by the Council. This person designates those who count the votes.
- Before the elections, the nominees are introduced to the Assembly.
- The voting members indicate their choices for election:
- Elections will be held by secret ballot.
- Each voting member has as many persons to vote for as members to be elected for the Council.
- No voting member may cast more than one vote for the same person.
- The number of persons to be elected receiving the highest number of votes are elected.
- After the new configuration of the Accrediting Council has been thus established, a second election by secret ballot will take place for the election of a Chairman and /or Vice-Chairman, according to current need.