Constitution for Societas Liturgica

The Consitution was approved at the Business Meeting of Societas Liturgica held in July 2021.

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Societas Liturgica came into existence through the initiative of Wiebe Vos, a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1962 he founded Studia Liturgica as an international and ecumenical journal for liturgical research and renewal. Three years later, Vos called together a conference of twenty-five liturgists from Europe and North America at the Protestant Community of Grandchamp, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. At this gathering it was resolved to found a Societas Liturgica, “an association for the promotion of ecumenical dialogue on worship, based on solid research, with the perspective of renewal and unity”. The first official meeting of Societas Liturgica took place in 1967 at Driebergen in the Netherlands.

Section A. The name of the association will be Societas Liturgica, hereinafter referred to as the Societas.

Section B. The Societas will:

1. Encourage research in the field of liturgical studies and allied subjects, including thepastoral implications of such research;
Facilitate the exchange of the results of this research and other liturgical knowledge;
3. Seek to deepen the mutual understanding of the liturgical traditions of the various Christian confessions;
Seek ways to make clear the relevance of liturgy in the contemporary world.

Section C. This aim will be pursued by:

  1. Holding biennial general meetings of the Societas, called Congresses;
  2. Calling, if desired, smaller meetings of the Societas;
  3. Publishing the journal Studia Liturgica (hereinafter referred to as Studia);
  4. Promoting other publications that serve the purpose of the Societas.

Section A. Membership will be open to:

  1. those teaching or doing research in liturgical and related studies;
  2. those who are actively engaged in official liturgical commissions;
  3. those who are making significant contributions to the liturgical life of the churches;
  4. such other persons as the Societas may wish to invite.

Section B. Applications for membership will be submitted to the Secretary of the Societas with the written recommendation of two members. For an application to be accepted the approval of the majority of the Council is required. Members elected
between meetings of the Societas will be recognized and welcomed as members when
they next attend a congress.

Section C. Members are considered in good standing if they have paid their annual membership fees. Only members in good standing in attendance at the general meeting can vote.

Section D. Members are responsible for contributing to the ongoing life of the Societas through participation in general meetings (Congresses and their business meetings), offering materials for publication in Studia, and by the payment of an annual membership fee.

Section E. Members have the right to contribute to all business meeting discussions, to vote on all proposals put forward at business meetings, to stand for election to office, to elect officers and members of Council and to receive all publications produced by the Societas.

A quorum of membership for voting purposes will be reached when 10% of the members are present. A quorum of the Council will be reached when 51% of the Council members are present.

The Societas is governed by an elected council. As a society, it will make decisions by a process of careful deliberation, seeking the wisdom and experience of many voices as appropriate, which may include its members, the wider ecumenical circle of those working in the liturgical area, staff, volunteers, Council members and others with knowledge of its mission.


Section A. The affairs of the Societas are managed by a Council: an Executive Committee (the “Officers”), consisting of a President, a President-Elect, the two elected members of the Secretariat, and the two Co-Treasurers, together with six members-at-large.

Section B. Election of Officers and Council Members.

  1. All members of the Council will be elected by the membership of the Societas present at the general meeting. To be elected to office a person must be present at the Congress and business meeting. Any member of the Societas in good standing may seek office.
  2. Nominations will be accepted by the Secretariat up to one week before the start of the Congress and general meeting. A person may be nominated for more than one office, but may be elected to only one.
  3. The election will be by secret ballot at the business meeting, unless the nominee is unopposed. The order of the elections will be: President-Elect; Secretariat; Treasurer; Members-at-large. The officers and members-at-large shall be elected using a ranked and transferable vote process.
  4. The Officers each serve a two year term; the President-Elect automatically assumes the office of President at the end of the first term or if the President is unable to complete a term. The secretariat and treasurers may stand for re-election at the completion of their terms.
    six members-at-large serve a four year term with three retiring at each general meeting. The President upon retirement cannot be elected as President-elect.

Section C. The duties of the Council.
The Council has the authority to act on behalf of the Societas between General Meetings. All Members of Council will have the following responsibilities:

  1. to attend Council meetings, whether held electronically or in person;
  2. to be accountable for the business of the Societas arising out of its purpose;
  3. to oversee the organization of Congresses and other gatherings;
  4. to maintain fiduciary oversight of all the Societas funds;
  5. to determine membership fees;
  6. to approve all appointments;
  7. to write policy that will guide the Societas;
  8. to be answerable to the membership for all the decisions and actions of the Council;
  9. to nurture the connection between the Societas and its members;
  10. to report to the membership on a regular basis;
  11. to maintain oversight of Studia Liturgica and other publications;
  12. to have authority to remove a member of Council for failure to perform the duties of a Council member or for serious breaches of ethical conduct, by a seventy-five percent vote. On this matter the member in question may not vote.

Section D. The Duties of the Executive Committee and Officers.
The Executive Committee has the authority to act on behalf of the Council between its meetings, including the work of organizing the Congress.

    1. The President provides leadership to the Council and the membership of the Societas:
      a. assures the integrity and fulfillment of the Council’s process;
      b. works with the Secretariat in calling for agenda items, setting the agenda for Council meetings;
      c. presides at Council and general meetings;
      d. ensures that the Council conducts business consistent with its own rules;
      e. ensures that deliberations are fair, open, thorough, timely, orderly and to the point;
      f. works with the Secretariat, Treasurer and local committee in order to carry out the wishes of the Council for the Congresses;
      g. ensures that the Congresses and other meetings are properly organized;
      h. ensures that the President-Elect is prepared for the role of President;
      i. may represent the Societas and the Council to outside parties in announcing Council-stated policy.
    2. The President-Elect:
      a. chairs Council and general meetings in the absence of or at the request of the President;
      b. learns the role and duties of President and the manner of governance of the Societas;
      c. assumes such responsibilities as may be assigned by the President, the Council or the general meeting;
      d. assumes the office of President should the incumbent be unable to fulfill the responsibilities of that office.
    3. The Secretariat:
      a. takes and maintains all minutes of the Council and general meetings;
      b. maintains the membership rolls, records payments of membership fees, and other information which the Council deems necessary;
      c. oversees the membership process; accepts nominations for all the offices and ensures that the election process is carried out properly;
      d. is responsible for communicating with the membership including mailing, newsletter, email, webpages and social
      e. works with the President, President-Elect, Treasurer and local committee organizing the Congresses and is responsible for:i. the registration process and recording of Congress fees;
      ii. the daily schedule;
      iii. the review of proposed non-plenary papers and the scheduling of papers and other presentations;
      iv. translations.
    4. The Co-treasurers:
      a. shall have appropriate standing within the local jurisdictions to facilitate the maintenance of accounts in the United States and the Euro-zone;
      b. have direct fiduciary responsibility for all Societas funds;
      c. maintains accurate financial records and reports regularly to the Council and the general meeting;
      d. produces a budget for the Council, Congresses and other meetings;
      e. oversees with the Editor of Studia the finances of the journal;
      f. oversees the work of sub-treasurers the Council deems necessary;
      g. signs all contracts on behalf of the Council and the Societas;
      h. ensures that the financial policies of the Council are followed;
      i. administers scholarship funds and financial aid;
      j. does not encumber the Societas with any debt without the permission of the Council or the Societas.

Section E. Compensation of Officers and Council Members.

Officers and other council members shall receive no compensation for carrying out their duties as officers and council members. They shall receive reasonable reimbursement for expenses incurred while carrying out council responsibilities, such as travel expenses incurred for attendance at council meetings.

Section F. Liability of Officers and Council Members.

No person who serves as an officer or council member, and who is not compensated for such services except for reimbursement of out of pocket expenses, shall be liable solely by reason of such services as a director, officer or trustee for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury to another, if such person was acting in good faith and within the scope of his or her official functions and duties, unless such damage or injury was caused by willful or wanton misconduct.


Section A. The general oversight and administration of Studia Liturgica.

  1. The Council oversees the operation and finances of Studia and authorizes the contract with a publisher.
  2. The Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board are appointed by majority vote of the Council. The Editor-in-Chief is appointed to a six-year term that may be renewed for all or part of a six-year term. Members of the Editorial Board serve for a four-year term.
  3. The Editor-in-Chief submits a report for each Council meeting in person or in writing. The Editor-in-Chief may attend the Council meetings with voice but not vote.
  4. The Editor-in Chief directs the work of the Editorial Board and Editorial Assistants
  5. The Editor-in-Chief serves as the primary liaison with the contracted publisher of Studia and fulfills the editorial responsibilities set forth in that contract..

Section B. The Editorial Organization and Process

  1. The Editor-in Chief:
    a. establishes standard style/format of the journal;
    b. receives proposed papers;
    c. sends papers for jurying/review (to editorial board and other members);
    d. collects responses and sends comments to authors;
    e. edits or oversees editing of approved papers;
    f. finds translators when necessary;
    g. sends final version of the edited material to the formatter;
    h. reviews proofs and blue lines.
  2. The Contractual Publisher:
    a. is responsible for all matters relating to the copy-editing, production, manufacturing, design, promotion, marketing, distribution and licensing of Studia;

    b. maintains the database and invoice for non-member and institutional subscribers;

    c. maintains the supply of back issues and fills orders for purchase of back issues to the extend indicated by the contract;

    d. fulfills all other obligations as specified in the contractual agreement.
  3. The Editorial Board:
    a. is appointed by the Council;
    b. consists of six persons, selected with attention to linguistic, ecclesiastical and geographic distribution, to serve a four year term;
    c. attends an Editorial Board meeting during the biennial Congress;

    d. through the Editor-in-Chief suggests editorial policy to the Council;

    e. suggests peer reviewers in general and, occasionally, for particular articles;

    f. supports the work of the journal by
    i. encouraging Societas members to submit articles toStudia,
    ii. identifying potential authors who might appropriately consider publication in Studia, and

    iii. recommending Studia as a publishing venue to other scholars.
The Council will have the power to establish any committee to conduct the business of the Societas. The President may appoint, with the Council’s approval, any member in good standing to chair such a committee.

The Fiscal Year of the Societas will begin on January 1 and end on December 31 of the same year.

Section A. An annual membership fee will be established and adjusted when necessary by the Council. The Council may establish types of fees for membership.

Section B. A member is in good standing when the membership fee has been paid in full. A member may not vote if their membership fee is in arrears upon notification from the Secretariat.

Section C. Membership may be revoked if annual fees have not been paid for two consecutive years.

Section D. The Societas shall be perpetual until dissolution. Upon dissolution, its assets shall be donated as determined by the Council or the Executive Committee or the remaining Officers to a qualified charity for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding sections of any future federal tax code.


Section A. General Meetings of the membership will be held in conjunction with meetings of the Congress normally every two years. Section B. Special meetings, including digitally mediated meetings, may be called by the President with the consent of the Executive Committee.


Amendments to the Constitution are made with By-laws. By-laws contain details necessary to amplify and carry out the provisions of the Constitution. All By-laws dealing with the same general subject are grouped together by section under one article.

Section A. By-laws

  1. A motion to amend the Constitution may be proposed by any member in good standing, but must first be entertained
    and approved by the Council before adoption. By-laws that are not amendments to the constitution may be proposed
    by members of the Societas.
  2. By-laws must be in accordance with this Constitution as amended.
  3. By-laws must be sponsored by at least two persons, one being a member of the Council.
  4. By-laws must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Council Members in attendance.
  5. Once approved by the Council, a notice with the proposed amendment must be circulated to the membership no later than ninety (90) days prior to the General Meeting.
  6. By-laws must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the members present at the General Meeting.
  7. By-laws go into effect immediately after adoption unless otherwise specified.
This constitution shall go into effect upon ratification by two-thirds of the members present at a General Meeting.


The members of Societas Liturgica constitute an international community of liturgical scholars, educators and practitioners, promoting the study and development of liturgy and worship in an ecumenical forum.

While freedom of inquiry is at the heart of this enterprise, such freedom carries with it the responsibility of professional conduct. As a learned society, we require professional conduct by our members that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination as they participate in meetings and events. Moreover, as members and representatives of communities of faith, we expect conduct from each other consistent with those faith commitments.

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