SAAP Constitution
  1. NAME
The Southern African Association for Pastoral Work (SAAP)
  1. BASIS

3.1  shall have legal personality;

3.2  is an independent organisation, which shall operate in terms of the


3.3  is a non-profitmaking organisation; can act independently as plaintiff or                                        

defendant; may obtain, use and alienate properties; may procure and control funds; may make payments in the form of salaries, honoraria and donations; and may perform all such functions as are commensurate with its aims and which result from the strategies to achieve those aims;

3.4  may recruit members; may charge and use membership fees.
  1.   AIMS
  2. The study of, training in and responsible exercise of pastoral care, with a view to co-ordination and integration.

The SAAP seeks to achieve these goals by

5.1 stimulating study and research in pastoral care and encouraging publications in this area;

5.2  working towards effective training in all forms of pastoral care by liaising with training institutions and organisations;

5.3  the continuing equipping for pastoral care by, interalia, separate and inter-disciplinary congresses focussing on specialised themes and short courses and work shops, or other training opportunities;

 5.4 the promotion of dialogue and co-operation amongst those exercising different forms of pastoral care amongst themselves, as well as with related service groups by way of organising conferences, symposiums, discussion groups, meetings, etc;

 5.5  collecting and disseminating relevant information of a general and scientific nature (e.g. by way of regular newsletters and/or other publications);

 5.6  by promoting specialised forms of pastoral care, e.g. by pointing out to the church needs for instituting appropriate pastoral posts and making pastoral services more widely known;

 5.7  by striving for a high ethical standard in pastoral work by creating and promoting a code of ethics and maintaining oversight in order to prevent and guard against malpractices;

 5.8  ongoing evaluation of relevant legislation, making suggestions for amending legislation and initiating new legislation with regards to pastoral care as a science and professional service in order to secure the protection of the public.


The SAAP is an organisation

6.1  with the General Meeting holding the highest authority;

6.2  with one executive committee which has executive authority to deal with matters between general meetings according to the official policy of the SAAP as laid down in the constitution and expressed by the decisions of the General Meeting commensurate therewith;

6.3  with interest groups focussed on specific aspects of pastoral care;

6.4  which is organised into regional branches for effective local functioning;

6.5  which makes it possible to have interest groups in regional branches according to local circumstances;

6.6  which allows affiliation by an independent organisation or group in the area of pastoral care, which organisation or group may be represented in the General Meeting by one delegate;

6.7  which permits dual membership of  the SAAP and the affiliated or other pastoral organisations.



7.1  shall hold a General Meeting at least once every two years;

7.2  shall organise a congress to coincide with the General Meeting;

7.3  shall organise its business by way of portfolios, e.g. secretariat, newsletter, finance, congress, membership, ethics, which shall be allotted to members of the executive;

7.4  the General Meeting or the executive may nominate committees to deal with specific matters under the leadership of the relevant executive member or another convenor;

7.4.1  work committees may be instituted on a continuous basis e.g. for the portfolio mentioned above (7.3);

7.4.2  ad hoc committees shall function only until their specific tasks have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the General Meeting or executive.


8.1 Categories

8.1.1 Members

Those with a qualification in pastoral care. 

8.1.2  Co-members

Those with an interest in pastoral work and recommended by their churches.

8.1.3  Affiliated groups 

Independent organisations or other organisations in aid of pastoral care may affiliate with the right to one representative with a full vote in the general meeting.

8.1.4  Honorary members

Honorary membership may be awarded to members or non-members above the age of 65, who have excelled in an exceptional way in the area of pastoral care.

This shall be a matter of rare exception, with the maximum of one person per year, and preferably with no more than 5 living honorary members at any time. Members with voting rights may nominate persons for honorary membership with supporting documentation.

Important criteria:     - truly distinguished contribution

                                    - continuous contribution over many years

                                    - publications

                                    - practical contribution in pastoral care.

The executive shall consider nominations and make recommendations to the General Meeting.

8.2 General

8.2.1  Application for membership may be handed to the secretary on the prescribed form, accompanied by subscription fees for the financial year and proof of qualifications.

8.2.2  The qualification in pastoral work is a qualification in pastoral work obtained at a theological seminary and/or from the training organisations for pastoral care affiliated to the association.

8.2.3  The executive determines membership. Reasons for refusal of membership do not have to be given.

8.2.4  Membership fees are payable on joining and thereafter at the beginning of each financial year. Membership may be suspended until further payment if a member is 12 months in arrears.

8.2.5  Paid membership fees are not returnable with termination of membership.

8.2.6  Membership may be terminated by way of a letter of resignation sent to the executive.

8.2.7  Membership may be terminated by the executive if a person acts in contravention of the aims and interests of the association.

8.2.8  Only full and affiliated members have voting rights. Voting rights are forfeited if subscriptions have not been fully paid before the start of the General Meeting. Testimonials of delegates of affiliated members must also be handed to the secretary before the General Meeting.

8.2.9  Membership fees are determined by the General Meeting on recommendation of the executive.


General meetings take place at least once in two years to consider matters of common concern in keeping with the aims and strategies set out in the constitution.

9.1 Organisation 

The executive shall organise the General Meeting and determine the date, place, duration and agenda.

9.2  Notification

Written notification of the General Meeting shall be posted to all members at least 3 months before the meeting.

9.3  Quorum 

 A quorum is 20% of the voting members (members present plus votes by proxy handed in).                     

9.4  Officers

The chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary function in these same capacities at the General Meetings. In the absence of both the chair and vice-chairperson, the meeting shall elect a chairperson under leadership of a member of the executive. Where there is no executive member present, the meeting shall elect a chairperson and secretary under leadership of the chairperson or longest serving member of the local regional branch.

9.5  Voting rights 

Only full and affiliated members whose fees are up to date have the right to vote. A simple majority is decisive, except for amendments to the constitution.

9.6   Voting by proxy

 A member who is not present may, by way of written permission, enable another voting member to vote on his/her behalf. The written permission must be handed to the secretary in presence of the meeting. No member may stand proxy for more than 3 persons, or one out of every 5 members of his/her regional branch, whichever number is the greatest.

9.7  Casting vote 

The chairperson, besides his/her usual vote, also has the casting vote if, after a second vote, a matter remains undecided.

9.8  Matters for consideration 

Members, regional branches and interest groups may present matters for the agenda to the executive. These must reach the secretary in writing at least two months before the meeting. The following items shall always appear on the agenda:

9.8.1     Executive’s report

9.8.2     Audited financial statement

9.8.3     Reports of regional branches

9.8.4     Reports of interest groups

9.8.5     Appointments of auditors and legal advisors

9.8.6     Place and date of next meeting

9.8.7     Election of executive

9.8.8     Setting up of a works committee – which may also be the executive – to organise the next congress under leadership of the relevant executive member.

9.9  Referendum 

Where the executive judges that a matter requires immediate attention, but that it affects the organisation to such an extent that the members ought to be consulted, a referendum may be held by way of a circular communication to all the voting members (points 9.3, 9.5 and 9.7 above are relevant).

9.10  Extraordinary meeting 

9.10.1  The chairperson shall call an extraordinary meeting if  the executive deems one to be urgently required  at least 15 voting members provide a written and motivated request for one  more than half of the executive posts become vacant at the same time  the General Meeting itself decides to call an extraordinary meeting.

9.10.2  All the other requirements for a meeting shall hold, except that the agenda shall be limited to that of which notice has been given in writing.                                                                                                                              


10.1  Composition

The executive

10.1.1  shall be elected by the General Meeting

10.1.2  shall consist of 6 members of which 4 shall be elected separately for the following portfolios: chairperson, secretary, treasurer (who ought to be from the same geographical region) and congress organiser (who shall be elected with a view to the place at which the next congress will be held);

10.1.3  shall out of their own number elect a vice-chairperson and appoint the remaining portfolios e.g. for membership matters, ethics, newsletter, etc.;

10.1.4  it is preferable that not more than half the executive members be replaced at any one time (especially given the founding of the association);

10.1.5  shall for the first 2 years include at least representatives of the 3 founding organisations, and thereafter represent at least 2 interest groups;

10.1.6  shall be elected with cognisance of distances with a view to meetings;

10.1.7  shall itself fill vacancies. New members shall have a full vote;

10.1.8  has the right to co-opt additional members on an ad hoc basis. Such members have responsibilities only in relation to specific concerns, and do not have a vote.

10.2  Executive Committee (E.C.)

10.2.1  The E. C. of the SAAP

10.2.1  shall consist of 3 members appointed by the full executive with account taken of geography;

10.2.2  shall implement decisions of the executive;

10.2.3  is authorised to deal with urgent matters in accordance with the policy of the SAAP;

10.2.4  is answerable to the executive.

10.3  Meetings 

The executive

10.3.1  shall meet at least twice per year;

10.3.2  its quorum shall be 4 members, of which at least 2 shall be E.C. members;

10.3.3  in a dead lock situation – decision by way of the chairperson’s casting vote.

10.4  Functions

The executive

10.4.1  shall give a report to the General Meeting;

10.4.2  shall make all decisions known to members in writing by way of a newsletter; 

10.4.3  shall handle referenda by post where necessary;

10.4.4  shall handle applications for membership and resignations, with reports to the General Meeting;

10.4.5  shall execute all the decisions of the General Meeting;

10.4.6  may establish ad hoc and work committees to implement decisions and for other tasks;

10.4.7  shall advise the General Meeting regarding honorary membership;

10.4.8  shall ensure, under leadership of the treasurer, that membership fees are paid regularly;

10.4.9  shall advise the General Meeting regarding membership fees;

10.4.10  shall advise the General Meeting regarding the formation of interest groups as well as the disbanding of such groups;

10.4.11  shall seek to establish regional branches;

10.4.12  shall organise the General Meeting and draw up the agenda;

10.4.13  shall decide when an extraordinary General Meeting is needed, and shall convene such a meeting;

10.4.14  shall keep minutes of all executive and General Meetings, shall see to all relevant correspondence, and shall report to the General Meeting;

10.4.15  shall handle all monies on behalf of the organisation and provide the General Meeting with an audited report;

10.4.16  shall ensure that the aim of the organisation continues to be upheld by10.4.16.1  advising the General Meeting on the stimulation of research and the encouraging of publications;  liaising with training institutions;  organising continuing training opportunities under leadership of the relevant executive member;  dialogue with different churches as well as related disciplines;  organising discussions, conferences, etc. where necessary and desirable;  circulating a regular newsletter;  identifying needs for specialised pastoral care and advising the General Meeting as to ways of providing for it and making it known;  evaluating continuous membership interests;  liaising with any relevant institution e.g. statutory bodies, state departments with regard to legislation, churches, etc;  liaision on international level with individuals and relevant groups, etc;

10.4.17  shall decide on the apportioning of necessary funds to interest groups and regional branches.


11.1  Description

Members with a specific common pastoral concern form an interest group – e.g. interest in hospital pastoral care, consultant room pastorate, marriage/family life, crisis, congregation, prison, industry, etc.

11.2  Formation 

At least 10 members (who are not at the same time members of more than one other such group) may make a written application for the establishment of an interest group. Recognition thereof shall be granted by the General Meeting acting on the advice of the executive. The group must be clearly distinguishable from other existing or potential groups, but not so broad that it may include different potential interest groups, except where persons interested are too few, and agree to group together. Differing groups may form later with permission of the General Meeting on recommendation of the executive.

11.3  Disbanding 

A group, which, in the opinion of the executive, has over a peroid of 3 years not generated enough support, or which is not active, may be reconsidered by the General Meeting.

11.4  Joining 

There shall be no separate membership. Members in any of the categories of the SAAP are free to join a group and, if they wish, more than one group.

11.5  Committee 

Each interest group shall nominate a committee of 3 members – a chairperson, secretary and one member who

11.5.1  shall organise a conference to coincide with the General Meeting and congress;

11.5.2  shall present a report of the conference to the General Meeting via the executive with possible suggestions and/or requests;

11.5.3  shall discuss matters of own interest as directed by the group, and may present motions to the General Meeting via the executive;

11.5.4  shall be responsible for contributions in the group’s area of interest at the congress.

11.6  Meetings 

The group shall meet at least once in two years to discuss matters of common interest. Only members who, in the opinion of the executive, are actively involved, have voting right.


12.1  Description

Members who are organised together on a geographical basis. Members shall join the branch that is most convenient.

12.2 Establishment

When 5 or more members wish to establish a branch, they shall make a written request to the executive. The E.C. shall see to the matter. 

12.3  Executive committee for branches

There shall be at least a chairperson, secretary and an additional member on the executive. The committee shall be reconstituted each year. Previous members are eligible for re-election.

12.4  Representation 

The branch shall nominate one member to the executive, with full voting rights, but the branch shall carry travel and accommodation costs.

12.5  Functions 

12.5.1  The promotion of the aims of the organisation.

12.5.2  The joining together of members by way of regular branch meetings.  Shall organise 4 meetings and/or other activities per year according to the needs of the members.  One meeting shall take the form of an annual general meeting at which the new executive members are elected.

12.5.3  Shall draw up an annual report to be tabled at their own annual general meeting, as well as the General Meeting.

12.6  Funding  

Regional branches shall generate their own funds, but shall not charge membership fees.


13.1  Proposals for amendments shall be brought by regional branches or interest groups and shall be presented to a General Meeting by the executive.

13.2  Proposed amendments to the constitution shall be circulated to all members before a General Meeting can make a decision. Amendments are accepted when a majority of votes support the amendment.


14.1  The Organisation shall disband if such a decision is taken in terms of the procedure laid down in 13 above.

14.2  On disbanding, the assets of the Organisation may be donated to an institution agreed by the General Meeting on advice of the executive. Liabilities remain the common responsibility of the members of the Organisation.

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