SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS IN EUROPE [“SD-EUROPE”]
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: (February 2012)
GUIDE FOR MEMBERS
1. What is “Spiritual Direction”?
Spiritual direction, by its very nature, escapes precise definition. It is a gift, given by God, and functions as a special charism. The following are tentative descriptions:
- To give support to a person to see the work of the Holy Spirit/God in his or her life.
- To be a companion to a person in seeking the meaning of life.
- To accompany others seeking the mystery we name God by tending the holy in their lives.
- A friendly relationship in which one person helps another to discern and respond to God’s will for them.
- Companioning another person, together listening to the movement of the holy, the divine, in that person’s life.
Spiritual direction can happen in groups, but more frequently happens in one to one relationships.
Spiritual directors are persons who have discerned within themselves the gift of spiritual direction, who have had this gift affirmed by others, and who are open to improve and deepen their ministry.
More information and reflection you can find at SD-Europe website (www.sd-europe.eu)
2. Why do spiritual directors need an organisation across Europe?
Europe has its own distinctive and inter-related cultures, languages, spiritual traditions, history, etc. Europe is growing to a new unity: politically, economically, socially, and needs a spiritual basis for that unity. Spiritual direction can be one means to support this growth.
Moreover, spiritual direction is by its very nature often a hidden and lonely ministry. The need for mutual support is high. Europe as a whole has a spiritual richness which is greater than that enjoyed by any of its constituent parts. Mutual support on a pan-European basis has a potential for enrichment which more local initiatives cannot possess.
There are also a number of practical reasons for organizing spiritual directors on a European level rather than worldwide: distances, and the costs of transportation being obvious examples.
3. Can anyone join SD-Europe?
SD-Europe began as a Christian organisation. Membership is open to anyone practicing the ministry of spiritual direction. Applications for membership are subject to scrutiny by the Executive Committee.
4. What is the cost of membership?
The present annual membership fee is 15 Euros. It is hoped that members will remain loyal to SD-Europe for many years, and for this reason we want membership renewals to be as simple and as cost-effective as possible. Thus we will encourage the use of standing orders and direct debits where possible.
5. What are the benefits of membership?
The network of members will obtain a variety of benefits, partly depending on how they use SD-Europe and what they need. A range of benefits might include support, sharing of ideas, education, conferences, a directory of spiritual directors in Europe (at least of members of SD-Europe), newsletters/magazines, prayer, pilgrimages, and a forum in which to listen to others, to network, and be amongst like minded persons. Currently we organise an annual gathering of members. Finally, it is to be hoped that lasting friendships will be formed, some of which may be across national, language and denominational barriers.
6. What is the Executive Committee of SD-Europe and who is on it?
The Executive Committee serves SD-Europe by being its governing body. It is elected from the membership at the Annual General Meeting. It has a minimum of three members and a maximum of six.
7. What happens at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of SD-Europe?
The AGM of SD-Europe will be a formal business meeting, and for this reason it is highly likely to coincide with a conference so that as many members as possible are encouraged to attend.
The first General Meeting took place in November 2004. Then the Constitution was signed and the first Executive Committee was elected. After this first General Meeting, Annual General Meetings will follow.
The first AGM, which will take place in February 2006, can adopt the Constitution, and will elect the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer and other members of the Executive Committee, and conduct any other business. Subsequent AGMs will also consider the reports from the Officers and the accounts and finances of SD-Europe.
8. How will SD-Europe keep in touch with me, or how can I contact you?
We believe that it makes sense, where possible, to use the internet and e-mail to keep in touch with each other, as this is very cheap and quick. However, post and telephone may also be used. Regional and national meetings may also be set up. The Chair and the Secretary will always be available for contact, preferably by e-mail.
9. Does SD-Europe have a legal constitution?
Yes. The document you are reading now is explanatory only, and the wording of the Constitution will always take precedence. Copies of the Constitution will be available to all members and prospective members. The Constitution was formally adopted by the membership at the first meeting of SD-Europe, and the Constitution includes a process for amending the Constitution when necessary (see number 7 above).
10. What language will be used for SD-Europe ?
It would appear that at least some of the business of SD-Europe will be conducted in English. Both the Constitution and this explanatory document are in English, and SD-Europe is subject to English Law. However, it will be up to the members and the Executive Committee to decide how best to proceed at any gathering, and it is certainly possible that different languages will be used, and translation provided where necessary.
11. How is the Executive Committee elected?
Details of the election procedure are described in Appendix 1 to this document.
12. What about meetings for all the members of SD-Europe?
All members are entitled to attend and vote at AGMs and at any Special General Meeting (SGM) which may be called. SGMs are rare, and are designed for urgent business that cannot wait until the next AGM. There will be other meetings, conferences, socials etc. which will also be open to all the members.
13. Are there any procedural rules for meetings?
The Constitution provides rules for formal meetings. This covers such matters as quorum, voting, and minutes, and provides that the members may add further procedural rules as standing orders. Normally voting is by simple majority on a show of hands of those present. The election of the members of the Executive Committee is described in the Appendix 1 of this document.
14. What about the finances of SD-Europe?
The funds of SD-Europe will comprise the membership fees, together with any profit made from conferences, publications etc. These finances will be controlled by the Treasurer, who will manage the bank accounts of SD-Europe. Proper accounts have to be kept. The Executive Committee will exercise oversight of the finances, and the members will be informed at the AGM. SD-Europe will comply with the current law concerning inspection, examination or auditing of the accounts, and it will be up to the members to choose or approve the choice of the person charged with this duty.
In the event of SD-Europe incurring debts and having to be wound up, each member would be liable to pay no more than £1 towards those debts.
15. Can the way that SD-Europe works be altered, and if so, how?
The Constitution can be changed by the vote of two-thirds of the members present at a meeting specially called for this purpose.
If it ever proves to be redundant, SD-Europe can also be wound up or dissolved by a similar vote.
Proposal to clarify terms and procedures of SDE Elections
1. The Executive Committee consists of the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and one other member (known as ‘The 4th Member’).
2. Members of the Committee are elected for a period of three years, and may then be re-elected for a further period of three years. After that, a year must pass before they can stand again for re-election to any post.
3. Only members of SDE can be elected to the Committee.
4. Nominations must be made by members in writing to the Secretary. This is normally done using the Nomination Form which is clearly displayed during an SDE gathering.
5. Member can nominate themselves, but each nomination must be seconded in writing by one other member.
6. There shall always be an election by secret ballot, even if there is only one candidate for one vacancy.
7. The conduct of the election is the responsibility of the Secretary, except for the election of the Secretary, which shall be the responsibility of the Chair.
8. Only paid-up SDE members can vote in the election.
9. All elections shall be by secret ballot. In the event of a tied vote, the Chair of the meeting casts a second vote.
10. Ballot papers will have space for the name of each candidate, and boxes where the member should place a X clearly indicating their vote for one of the candidates, or their wish to abstain from voting.
11. Completed ballot papers will be collected and counted by 2 tellers appointed by the AGM. The Secretary* will announce the result of the election. (* The Chair in the case of an election for Secretary)
12. The Procedure at the time of the Election:
(a) Nominations will be read out by the Secretary.
(b) Each candidate will be presented, first by the Proposer, and then by the Seconder.
(c) If the candidates so wish, they may briefly address the AGM.
(d) Members may question the candidates.
(e) When the AGM is held in to two parts, the election will normally take place in the second part of the AGM. (Sometimes the presentation of the candidates may take place in the first part. If this happens, there shall be no further discussion with or presentation from the candidates in the second part, although clarification on particular issues may be sought at the discretion of the Secretary or Chair).
(f) The candidate with the most votes will be declared elected.
(g) Members who are not present may apply in writing to the Secretary to appoint a Proxy, who must also be a paid-up member of SDE. Such an application must be made at least 48 hours before the AGM.