The basic unit of Serra International is the Serra Club. The Serra Club is the primary presence of Serra International in the local community. Serra’s International, National, Area and District structures exist to assist the Serra Club in functioning as efficiently as possible in the local community. Each Serra Club is governed by a Board of Trustees.
Volunteer service is one of the cardinal principles of Serra and is a prime factor in its success. All Serra Club members give of their time and talent voluntarily to the work of Serra. The only remuneration is the satisfaction which comes from the increased success of Serra as an organisation and the service it is able to render to the Church in the many communities, Dioceses and Archdioceses where local Clubs are situated.
Serra Clubs meet regularly (semi-monthly or monthly), preferably at mealtimes. A typical meeting will take approximately 75 to 90 minutes. The Club President presides at these meetings. The meetings are planned in advance with the assistance of the various Committees and Sub-Committees that are described below. The focus of the meeting is primarily on the programme to be presented. Most Club business is handled at a separate meeting of the Club Board of Trustees. A Club Meeting is usually preceded with a Mass and the meeting itself may take the following form:
- Gathering and hospitality
- Opening prayer, meal or refreshments
- Special announcements
- Chaplain’s message
- Program presentation
- Adjournment with prayer
It is the responsibility of each Club to arrange for the appointment of either a Chaplain or Spiritual Director with the support of its local Bishop.
The Serra Club presents an excellent opportunity for the training and development of skills in leadership. An effective leader is interested in the growth of the members as well as in Club accomplishments. A leader creates an atmosphere of ease, co-operation, and good fellowship where everyone works as a team to further the objectives of Serra International.
The best Clubs are Clubs in which the members are engaged, interested, active and where every member assumes some responsibility in the Club. Serra Officers and Committee Chairpersons are always aware of members’ skills and interests and use these resources for the good of the Club.
In addition, good Serra leaders are constantly identifying and training their own successors. The best legacy that a Club Officer can leave is a well-trained successor who is able to assume the responsibilities of leadership with ease.
Club Board of Trustees
The Club Board of Trustees is the overall policy-making, governing, and co-ordinating body of the Club. It has general control over all Officers, Members, Committees, Budgets, approves all accounts and conducts all ordinary business. Its decisions are final unless overruled by a two-thirds majority of the active members present and voting at a regular Meeting of the Club.
The Club Board of Trustees meets at least once each month, preferably at a time and place separate from the regular Club Meetings. The Members of the Board of Trustees are elected annually as provided in each Club’s By-Laws.
- determines tasks and functions for the year
- assigns appropriate responsibilities to the Members, Committees, and Sub-Committees
- establishes the Club budget
- oversees election of the Club’s delegate to the International Convention and District Meetings
- arranges regular meetings with all Committee and Sub-Committee chairpersons
- ensures that each Club Officer performs his or her assigned duties
- ensures that required reports are sent promptly to the District Governor, District Governor-Elect and/or Deputy Governor
- fills any vacancy in the Office of a Vice-President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, or Trustee for any unexpired term of such Office
- prepares, adopts and amends Local Club By-Laws as needed or required
- Club Officers
- Four Vice-Presidents (one for each of four portfolios)
- Immediate Past-President
- Club Trustees (three recommended)
Qualifications of Board Members
- an understanding of and dedication to:
- Serra’s objectives
- the Catholic Church and its role in human society
- the needs of the Club, the community and the Diocese or Archdiocese in which the Club functions
- the Constitution and By-Laws of Serra International
- an understanding of Constitution, By-Laws and policies of the Local Club
- consistent attendance at meetings and participation in Club programs
- the ability to get along and deal impartially with Club Members
- the ability to lead justly and delegate responsibility
- to dependably carry out Club responsibilities
- to have a calm, confident manner
- to be an articulate speaker
Terms of Office
Club Officers usually serve a one-year term while the Club Trustees serve staggered, three-year terms. Individual Clubs, however, determine the length of the term for their own Club.