Guidelines for Allocation of Funds

The goal of theological education of the whole people of God is the key factor in all theological programmes in the South Asian region, that calls for developing a variety of programmes, formal, non-formal, residential and non-residential to equip God's people at various levels to fulfil Church's mission. While the residential programmes leading to the B.Th., B.D., B.R.E., M.Th., and D.Th., etc. degrees continue their quest for new direction and relevance through involvement in theological education for ministerial training and learning the non-formal, non-residential and continuing theological education programmes are committed to creative and innovative participation of the people of God in the life of the Church and society. These demand strengthening of institutions in their new programmes and developing areas such as contextual research, continuing education, ecumenical sharing, indigenous writing, participation in development and struggle for justice and other to fulfil its goal.

The Solidarity Fund is created to fulfil these and other concerns in India through the programmes of the BTESSC as enumerated in the document "Towards contextualisation and self-realisation in theological education in South Asia". It has been agreed with the Programme on Theological Education of the WCC and the Solidarity Fund Committee of other countries in South Asia to implement the priorities listed in it as a guideline to govern the allocation of funds for the programmes under the BTESSC and programme approved by it.

The specific purpose of the fund is:

  • to encourage innovative experiments and programmes related to theological education;
  • to help schools which do not have adequate resources and are not able to raise them independently;
  • to foster ecumenical co-operation in the region and among confessions;
  • to promote contextualisation and self-reliance.

Therefore, priority will be given to programmes that are innovative, ecumenical, contextual and that which come from schools with inadequate resources.

  1. The Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College hereinafter known as BTESSC shall be responsible for the allocation of the proceeds of the Solidarity Fund on behalf of and under the supervision of the Trust of the Solidarity Fund.
  2. The Trust of the Solidarity Fund shall make available annually to the BTESSC generated income for disbursement for programmes and projects under the general principles projected in the appeal document.
  3. The beneficiaries of the Fund shall be the member institutions of the BTESSC and other institutions in good standing and shall receive grants for only such programmes that have direct relationship to theological education being creative, contextual and relevant.
  4. The BTESSC shall make the grants at one time in a year and shall expect it to be utilised as far as possible during the calendar year.
  5. a) The programme grants shall be considered under the following headings:
    • Senate/BTE programmes organised through their respective committees and administered by them.
    • Programmes/Projects of member institutions of the BTESSC and others approved by it;
    • Projects initiated by individuals related to member institutions of the BTESSC and the churches in India and related overseas bodies
    b) The Programme requests shall cover the following items as contained in the original Solidarity Fund document.
    • (i)Academic Programmes:
      • M.Th. Scholarship for teachers
      • Appropriate theological education (external/non-residential theological education)
      • Production of Study material
      • Continuing theological education, M.Min Programme (Production of material etc.,)
      • Scholarships for women at B.D. level.
    • (ii)Research Programmes:
      • D.Th. Scholarships
      • Travel grants for D.Th. candidates and spouses
      • Non-degree research
    • (iii)Programmes for Theological Teachers and Students
      • Exchange of Teachers
      • Fellowships for Ecumenical Scholars (Teachers and Students)
      • Staff Institutes
      • Consultations for theological students
    • (iv)Programmes on Church Relations:
      • Theological Institutes for Professional Laymen and Women
      • Justice issues and involvement programmes
      • Continuing theological education
      • Fellowships for Ecumenical Scholars (Church Leaders)
      • Non-formal theological education
      • Consultations with churches on ministry
  6. a) Programme requests shall be considered depending on their geographical involvement
    • from one institution
    • from more than one institution in a region, jointly planned and implemented
    • National - that involves participation of all institutions.
    b) Normally the BTESSC shall be responsible for implementing the national programmes with the collaboration of all the concerned institutions, local and regional. The responsibility of programmes of their own areas will be with persons/institutions receiving the grants.
    c) Generally each institution shall be eligible for the programme grants for a period of three years. Programmes that require a major grant for any institution may be accommodated over a two year period in the fund budget. However, such institutions shall supply information on grants received for it from other donors.
    d) Grants are made to the institutions and not individual. Even if initiated by individuals, they should be sent through the concerned institutions or churches. (The BTESSC may invite specially interested and qualified persons to start a specific project as and when necessary.
    e) Where the request for more than one programme is received within the same area of concern from the same region, the BTESSC may recommend a joint programme before making a grant.
    f) Where more than one request is received for the same type of project from different regions, grants may be considered keeping the balance of regional requests and their previous performance.
    g) The decision of requests shall be governed by the comparative levels of economy of the institutions and its potential.
  7. The BTESSC shall prioritise the requests on an ad-hoc basis on the merits of the applications. To facilitate such evaluation a record of relevant basis data of such institutions shall be obtained and reviewed.
  8. All the allocated grants should be used as far as possible within the intended period. If grants are not drawn within three months of sanction, they will stand cancelled unless reallocated on appeal.
  9. The beneficiaries are accountable for the grants received and shall submit reports of the programme and an audited statement of income and expenditure to the BTESSC within six months after the completion of the programmes/project. Any unutilised money shall be refunded to BTESSC.
  10. Each programme/project request will be made in the following format:
    • a rationale for the programme.
    • its significance for theological education
    • plan of implementation
    • local resources - financial (at least 25% must be local contribution)
    • support from other sources
    • budget
    These grants shall not be utilised for subsidising salaries of persons in institutions for on-going programmes.
  11. Not more than ΒΌ of the total amount available may be spent for the BTESSC's direct programmes.
  12. Generally, the programme grants do not cover the following:
    • programmes that have already received grants earlier
    • programmes of the church that come under 'church services' or 'church priorities'
    • institutions that are basically non-theological
    • programmes/projects for which other support - Indian or foreign - is available.
  13. Special Grants :
    Special grants may be applied for emergency purposes not otherwise covered in the programme listed in the appeal including crisis situations of an institution. Such grants will be disbursed by the Co-0rdination Committee out of the drawing fund.
  14. Procedure for application:
    The application will be received by the BTESSC office and be processed by a Screening Committee in Dialogue, if necessary with the applicants for clarification, etc. The Screening Committee will make recommendations to the BTESSC keeping in mind the resources and guidelines. The BTESSC will be the final authority for approval.