Statute of the Polish Ecumenical Council
The Polish Ecumenical Council, hereinafter referred to as the “Council”, is a community of the Churches affiliated in it which operate on the territory of the Polish State. The Council cultivates Polish ecumenical traditions, looking to that current of Polish tradition which is in favour of freedom, equal rights and mutual respect of denominations. The Council takes pains to strengthen the spiritual atmosphere favouring Christian unity in the sense of the high-priestly prayer of the Lord of the Church “that all may be one” (John 17,21) and in accordance with the principles of the international ecumenical movement.
I. Character and Aims of the Council
The aim of the Council is to bring Churches spiritually closer and cultivate fraternal relations between them, particularly between Churches affiliated in the Council. This aim and the activity resulting from it are carried out by:
1. spreading religious tolerance and the mutual respect of believers belonging to various ecclesiastical communities;
2. deepening ecumenical awareness among members of various Churches;
3. conducting and coordinating joint programmes and studies with an ecumenical and denominational theme;
4. creating and maintaining ecumenical institutes and childcare and social assistance centres;
5. promoting publishing, information and documentation activity in the ecumenical and denominational field;
6. establishing and maintaining ecumenical contacts with Churches, national ecumenical councils, and international and denominational ecumenical organisations abroad;
7. caring for human rights;
8. strengthening social peace in Poland and in international relations;
9. initiating and implementing programmes of humanitarian aid;
10. supporting pro-ecological movements in the name of respect for God’s act of creation;
11. mediating to amicably resolve potential disputes between Churches.
1. The activity of the Polish Ecumenical Council covers the territory of the Republic of Poland.
2.The City of Warsaw is the registered office of the authorities of the Council.
The Council has legal entity status.
II. Members of the Council
The Council is composed of the following Churches:
a. Kościół Chrześcijan Baptystów w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (The Church of Christian Baptists in the Republic of Poland)
b. Kościół Ewangelicko-Augsburski w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Poland)
c. Kościół Ewangelicko-Metodystyczny w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (The Evangelical Methodist Church in the Republic of Poland)
d. Kościół Ewangelicko-Reformowany w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (The Evangelical Reformed Church in the Republic of Poland)
e. Kościół Polskokatolicki w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (The Polish Catholic Church in the Republic of Poland)
f. Kościół Starokatolicki Mariawitów w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (The Old Catholic Mariavite Church in the Republic of Poland)
g. Polski Autokefaliczny Kościół Prawosławny (The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church)
– as ordinary members, and:
h. Społeczne Towarzystwo Polskich Katolików (The Social Society of Polish Catholics)
i. Towarzystwo Biblijne w Polsce (The Bible Society in Poland)
– as associate members.
Other Churches with legal entity status can be accepted into the Council if they teach that, in accordance with the Holy Bible, they believe in the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and acknowledge Jesus Christ to be the God-Man and Saviour.
1. The following should be enclosed with the Council acceptance application signed by the chief executive authority of the interested Church and submitted to the Management Board of the Council:
a. the internal law (statute) of the Church;
b. information about the persons and registered office of the supreme authority of the Church, together with the precise address;
c. a list of administrative units (parishes, congregations), stating their numbers;
d. a list of clergy together with information about the positions occupied by them.
2. The Council Presidium adopts a resolution on acceptance into the Council and exclusion from the Council, and the General Assembly approves it. Until the resolution is approved, the accepted Church holds associate member status.
1. Christian unions, societies, institutions and organizations can apply for Council associate member status. When submitting an application for acceptance into the Council, the proper authorities of an organization shall provide its statute, stating the names of its leadership.
2. The Council’s Presidium shall adopt a resolution, approved by the General Assembly, on acceptance into the Council or removal from it.
In internal and confessional matters, member Churches retain their independence of the Council.
III. Rights and Obligations of Council Members
Ordinary members of the Council have the right:
1. to respect the identity of confessions;
2. to provide loyal and fraternal assistance in the event of difficulties;
3. to play an active and passive part in elections at General Assemblies of the Council (this does not apply to associate members);
4. to make use of the benefits of international and Polish ecumenism;
5. to provide the Council with information about the life and work of their own Church.
Ordinary and associate members of the Council have the following obligations:
1. to diffuse and strengthen the principles of fraternity and unity of the ecumenical community;
2. to observe the principles of loyalty and fraternity in mutual relations;
3. to punctually pay membership fees in the amount proposed by the Presidium and approved by the members for a given financial year;
4. to participate in the activities of the Council and in ecumenism;
5. to abide by general decisions of the Council, subject to Paragraph 8.
IV. Supreme Authorities of the Council
The authorities of the Council are:
1. the General Assembly
2. the Presidium
3. the Management Board
4. the Audit Committee
1. The General Assembly is composed of delegations from individual member Churches, which are appointed by their own chief authorities.
2. The General Assembly may be either ordinary or extraordinary.
3. Each member Church is represented by five delegates, irrespective of the number of its followers. The heads of Churches or their legal representatives and the Chairman of the Audit Committee form part of a delegation ex officio.
4. Associate members each have the right to delegate one representative to the General Assembly.
5. An ordinary General Assembly is convened by the Presidium after the lapse of a five-year tenure.
6. An ordinary General Assembly deals with reports and elections. The agenda of an extraordinary General Assembly can also have such a character.
7. Members shall be notified of the time and date of an ordinary General Assembly by registered mail at least three weeks in advance, counting from the day on which the notification is sent.
8. An extraordinary General Assembly shall be convened for matters which must not be delayed, on the basis of a decision made by the Council’s Presidium.
9. The notification of the time and date of an extraordinary General Assembly should be sent at least 14 days in advance.
10. The agenda shall be enclosed with the notification of an ordinary or extraordinary General Assembly.
1. At least two thirds of the total number of delegates are required to be present for resolutions of the General Assembly to be valid.
2. Resolutions of the General Assembly shall be passed by a simple majority of votes cast by those delegates present, except for resolutions concerning an amendment of the Statute and the dissolution of the Council.
3. Each member Church shall have one vote when electing the Management Board.
4. Before the members of the Management Board are elected, the member Churches shall inform the Chairman of the Assembly as to which of the delegates referred to in Paragraph 12 Section 3 has been appointed to be the elector.
5. Electors exercise the right of the member Churches as referred to in Paragraph 13 Section 3.
The General Assembly has the following competencies:
1. to elect the Chairman of the meeting, as well as the Secretary and his/her Deputy;
2. to elect the Management Board, the Chairman of the Audit Committee and its members;
3. to approve the regulations of meetings and elections;
4. to approve reports of the Management Board and Audit Committee and to acknowledge that the Management Board has fulfilled its duties;
5. to make decisions on all motions put forward by the member Churches, the Management Board, the Presidium or the Audit Committee;
6. to pass resolutions on amending the Statute or dissolving the Council;
7. to pass resolutions on matters not reserved for other authorities of the Council;
8. the General Assembly shall approve the acceptance of members into the Council or their removal from the Council by a simple majority of votes cast.
1. The Council Presidium is composed of:
a. heads of Churches which are ordinary members or their representatives appointed by name for a given meeting;
b. members of the Management Board.
2. Associate members have the right to delegate one representative each with an advisory vote to meetings of the Presidium.
3. The Chancellor of the Christian Theological Academy can participate in the Presidium’s meetings and exercise the right to an advisory vote.
4. The Presidium can invite the Chairmen of Regional Branches and Committee representatives to its talks, and they can exercise the right to an advisory vote.
5. The Presidium’s meetings shall be chaired by its President or one of its Vice-presidents.
6. The President and Vice-presidents represent the Council externally.
The Presidium has the following competencies:
1. to generally supervise the Council’s activities;
2. to prepare motions for the General Assembly;
3. to pass resolutions on convening an ordinary and extraordinary General Assembly and to prepare their agendas;
4. to approve the Council’s activity programmes;
5. to approve the budget and membership fees for a given financial year, and, in emergency situations, extraordinary fees and budget changes;
6. to fill posts in the Office of the Council, and also to organize it and determine the range of its functions;
7. to prepare and approve activity programmes;
8. to call into being, dissolve and coordinate the work of the Committees of the Council;
9. to call into being and dissolve Regional Branches of the Council and approve their Management Boards;
10. to mediate in possible disputes between Council members;
11. to approve regulations not reserved for other authorities of the Council.
1. The Management Board consists of clergy elected by the General Assembly and is composed of the President, two Vice-presidents, the Secretary and the Treasurer.
2. Only the heads of member Churches or representatives of those Churches who are authorized by those heads can be members of the Management Board.
3. The President of the Management Board shall be elected by a simple majority of electors’ votes from among the candidatures submitted.
4. After the President of the Management Board has been elected, the Vice-presidents, the Secretary and the Treasurer of the Management Board shall be elected in a separate vote by a simple majority of electors’ votes from among the candidatures submitted.
5. If no candidate for the function of President of the Management Board achieves a majority of votes cast, the elections shall be repeated until such majority is achieved.
The Management Board has the following competencies:
1. to implement resolutions passed by the Presidium;
2. to conduct the Council’s current affairs;
3. to draw up draft regulations and motions for resolution by the Presidium;
4. to supervise the Office and finances of the Council;
5. to represent the Council in external contacts.
1. The organizational activity of the General Assembly, the Presidium and the Management Board is standardized by regulations.
2. At the General Assembly, delegates can submit a motion for regulations to be amended.
3. The signatures of two members of the Management Board, including the President or one of the Vice-presidents, are required for the Council’s written declarations of intent to be valid.
1. At least three representatives of Churches, who do not sit on the Presidium and who are elected by the General Assembly, make up the Audit Committee (Paragraph 14, Point 2).
2. The Audit Committee shall check the financial activity of the Management Board, inspecting the ledgers and the state of finances at least once a year, and shall file a report on the results of the inspection to the Presidium, which can acknowledge that the Management Board has fulfilled its duties.
3. The Audit Committee shall present a report on the five-year tenure of the Council for the General Assembly to approve.
4. The Audit Committee shall submit a motion on acknowledging that the Management Board has fulfilled its duties for the five-year period.
1. The Council has the right to call province or inter-province Regional Branches into being in those areas where parishes (congregations) of at least four member Churches exist and operate.
2. The Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of a Branch, elected at a Branch Assembly, constitute its Management Board.
3. The elections of a Branch Management Board shall be held every three years.
4. A Branch Management Board shall be approved by the Presidium of the Polish Ecumenical Council.
5. Branches are concerned to implement the aims of the Council (cf. Paragraph 1 Points 1-11) on their territory.
6. Branches do not have legal entity status.
7. The Presidium has the right to dissolve a Branch if:
a. it has not been active for a period of one year;
b. the activity of the Branch does not comply with the aims of the Council.
1. The Presidium appoints the following Committees:
a. Christian Education
2. The Presidium, in agreement with the Churches, determines the number, range of activity and composition of the Committees, in which each member Church is represented.
3. Committees elect their Chairman and Secretary from among their own ranks.
V. Principles of Operation of the Council’s Authorities
1. The supreme principle observed by the Council is the aspiration to attain unanimity.
2. On matters in which no consent is reached, decisions are made by a simple majority of votes.
3. The Council only expresses itself on behalf of the member Churches with their consent.
VI. Financial Matters
1. The Council’s funds come from:
a. membership fees of the Churches and associate members of the Council;
b. subsidies for the Council coming from members or other institutions;
c. collections, donations and bequests as well as from other irregular income;
d. income from property;
e. subventions from the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches, international denominational organizations and sister Churches at home and abroad.
2. The Council’s funds must not be used for purposes which are not in accordance with the statutory activity of the Council.
3. The signatures of the President or one of the Vice-presidents and the Treasurer are necessary for financial obligations to be valid.
VII. Final Provisions
1. Membership of the Council ceases when a member Church or associate member announces, in the form of a written declaration signed by the appropriate executive authority, that it is leaving the Council. However, this decision does not release it from the obligation to pay due fees until the date on which it leaves the Council.
2. Membership of the Council ceases as a result of being struck off the list of members in the event that a given Church or associate member acts to the detriment of the Council.
3. The decision to strike off shall be made by the Council Presidium and shall require the approval of the General Assembly.
4. A member Church or associate member leaving the Council as a result of withdrawal or being struck off cannot have any financial claims regarding the Council.
5. The membership of a Church or an associate member shall be suspended until the time of the General Assembly if it fails to pay its fees over a period of two years.
A qualified majority of three quarters of the votes with an attendance of at least two thirds of the delegates of the General Assembly is required for the Statute to be amended.
1. A resolution on dissolving the Polish Ecumenical Council can, at the request of the Presidium, be passed by a qualified majority of three quarters of the votes with an attendance of at least two thirds of the delegates at the General Assembly.
2. In passing a resolution on dissolving the Council, the General Assembly shall appoint a five-person Liquidation Committee. The General Assembly shall at the same time make a decision that the Council’s assets be allocated for specific purposes.
From the moment that this Statute is approved by the General Assembly, the applicable Statute of 20 September 1996 shall cease to be in force.