Tuesday, 14 February 2006
Church Representation Rules 2006
Update March 2011 Comments on this article are now closed, but see Church Representation Rules 2011.
Church House Publishing has just issued the 2006 edition of the Church Representation Rules. The rules are not online (but perhaps they ought to be) and the published edition does not list what has actually changed since the previous (2004) edition. The changes are in Statutory Instrument 2004 No 1889, the legal instrument that put them into effect. As this will make little sense without (and probably even with) reference to the old version of the rules I give a summary of the changes below the fold.
The next year in which a new electoral roll must be prepared has been brought forward from 2008 to 2007. Subsequent new rolls will continue to be required every six years, ie in 2013, 2019 etc.
This has been clarified to make it clear that the new roll comes into effect immediately on publication.
The requirement to publish the annual report and statements after the annual meeting has been removed. [They still have to be published before the meeting.]
Rules 10(1)(c), 24(6) and (7), and 30(5)(c)
The minimum age for election to a deanery or diocesan synod is reduced to sixteen.
Rules 11(7) and (11) and 12(1)
The rules on the method of voting at annual meetings have been amended.
The qualification for retired clergy to be eligible for membership of a deanery synod is changed from receipt of a pension to either permission to officiate or being a habitual worshipper.
A diocesan synod may now take into account the number of parish churches (or districts) in each parish when deciding numbers to be elected to deanery synods.
In cathedrals which are not parish churches lay people must now be on the community roll to be eligible for election to a deanery synod (rather than being a “habitual worshipper”). This does not apply to the Royal Peculiars or to Christ Church Oxford.
Appendix I [Synodical Government Forms]
Words have been added to the end of note 2(a). This reflects a change made to Rule 10(1)(a) on an earlier occasion.
Note 2(c) has been changed to reflect the change to Rule 10(1)(c) etc.
The rule number in the heading has been corrected.
Sections 7 and 8
The column “Mark your vote in this column” has been moved from the right to the left hand side of the form.
Appendix II [General Provisions relating to PCCs]
Paragraph 4(b) has been amended to permit the use of email when giving notice of PCC meetings.
In addition changes affecting diocesan synods and the General Synod have been made to rules 31(3), 35(1), 36, 37, 39, 41, 46.
Posted by Peter Owen on
Tuesday, 14 February 2006 at 2:40pm GMT
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Church of England
I asked CHP if/when they were planning to put these on line. I was told they had no plans to do so, and they needed to sell the copies. What I particularly wanted was the specimen forms in the appendices - which would be very helpful indeed to those of us who have multiple Annual Meetings to conduct and manage (13 in our case)
Your summary of the CRR is most helpful - pity they don't highlight changes year-to-year in the book! Have you any idea why the next New Roll must be produced in 2007 rather than 2008?
1) I agree that highlighting the changes would be a very good idea.
2) The size of a parish's roll determines how many lay members it has on the deanery synod. These members are also the electorate for the diocesan and general synod. It is therefore a good idea to have the deanery synod elections in years when the electoral roll is as up to date as possible. By moving the revision forward a year this will be achieved.
What is the operative date of these changes?
I trust they are not intended to affect this year's APCMs. If they were, the publication is almost as delayed as Wembley stadium.
I agree entirely that they should be available on the internet. They change them too frequently; they are are unnecessarily complex.
Rule 2(1) requires a notice of intended revision of the electoral roll to be published 14 days before it commences. Having to wait 2 weeks before you start adds to the complexity and increases the time scale of the operation, for no purpose whatsoever.
All the changes are in effect now, and, where appropriate, apply to this year's APCM. Whilst I agree that the publication has been delayed too much, it is just in time.
I don't understand why you have queried rule 2(1) here as this has not been changed. One reason for the two weeks' notice is to allow people not on the roll time to apply to be entered. This must be done before the revision if new people are to be eligible to vote at the APCM.
Thank you for drawing to attention the fact that the a new electoral roll has to be prepared in 2007 rather than 2008. I have commented on this in my electoral roll report having just carried out the annual revision of the current roll
This is extremely helpful. Would it be possible to reproduce this on our diocesan website (or add a link)?
You might try www.diochi.org.uk (Annual Meetings) for specimen forms.J
The 2004 rule 11 (2) permitted people to be nominated and seconded 'at the meeting'. Does anyone know if this has been changed - I take it from the excellent summary above it remains in place.
Rule 11 (2) remains unchanged. Don't forget that a different rule applies to churchwardens, who must be proposed and seconded in writing before the meeting.
I'm rather out of date as I have a 2001 copy of the rules i.e. when I was synod secretary. I don't think I've got time to buy a copy of the current rules before Tuesday and have a rather urgent question. Our Deanery Synod has elections to Diocesan Synod this week. I suspect that for the first time that I can remember, we may actually have an election for House of Laity places - the diocese has decreased the numbers to be elected from 7 to 4. Do elections still have to be on a voting paper, the form having been agreed by the diocese, which is circulated to all electors giving them not less than fourteen days to respond?
Yes - elections must be by a postal ballot as you describe. The form is specified in the Church Representation Rules. It is also a requirement that each elector is sent or given a letter inviting nominations.
It is the duty of the bishop to appoint a presiding officer for each election to the diocesan synod. Presumably the presiding officer for your HoL election (who must not be a member of your HoL) has been sent information on how to conduct the election.
In my own diocese, the deputy diocesan secretary has been appointed the returning officer for all the elections. Since he is a competent person this strikes me as a very good idea.
We have been wondering for some time, and cannot find a definitive answer anywhere - if someone is elected to deanery synod by their own PCC and then elected to diocesan synod by the deanery, what happens further on in time, if meanwhile the person's PCC has elected someone different to represent the parish on deanery synod - on the grounds that a diocesan synod member sits on deanery synod ex (diocesan) officio, and sits on the PCC for the same reason! It sounds rather circular but it has been argued that once someone is on diocesan synod they can be on it for as long as they like, voting back and forward between deanery and diocese and completely independent of their own PCC. I would be most grateful for a definitive answer to this, and also to what happens if diocesan synod members treat their votes as personal instead of representative.
Does a memmber of a deanery or diocesan synod have a right ( taking a full part) to be an ex-officio member of the PCC or is it by invitation if they have not been elected to said PCC. Any help would be greatfully received.
Church Representation Rule 14(1) provides that "(f) all persons whose names are on the roll of the parish and who are lay members of any deanery synod, diocesan synod or the General Synod" are members of the parochial church council.
This is subject to a provision in rule 1(4) that any person on more than one roll must chose one of these for the purposes of rule 14(1)(f).
So, to answer Ian's question, they are PCC members by right and thay have the same speaking and voting rights on the PCC as any other member.
Who may call a meeting of the Standing Committee of the PCC?
Help! I'm church administrator and have only just found out about this! No-one on the PCC appears to be aware of it either! How were we supposed to know about it? Shouldn't someone on the PCC automatically get these kind of rule updates?
Our Vicar insists on the Standing Committee being held in 'complete confidence' to only those on the committee,Vicar, Churchwardens x2 and PCC sectretary and myself. Nothing is to be discussed with the rest of the PCC members and no minutes are taken.I thought I was elected by my fellow PCC members to report back to them. I am not at all happpy about everything being confidental and there are things being discussed that the rest of the PCC should know about! Is this allowed?
The Standing Committee is a committee of the PCC which has "the power to transact the business of the council between the meetings thereof subject to any directions given by the council" [paragraph 14(b) of Appendix II to the Rules]. I cannot see anything beyond this about how the standing committee is to conduct its business, but it is clear that the PCC can instruct the standing committee to keep minutes and to present them to the PCC. I would think that this would be particularly important when the committee is making decisions on behalf of the PCC. Different considerations might apply if the committee is only talking about things.
Are there any restrictions on how long a Churchwarden can serve provided they keep being re eleccted?
Peter, From what you have typed at the top of this thread in 2007 there is a requirement for all electoral rolls to be compiled from scratch again. Is is this widely known?
If a church does not do this (either through negligence or a PCC vote) what could a member of the electoral role do? As a follow up to this if the roll falls does the PCC membership have to be reduced that year?
First, in reply to Roger Kenrick. Churchwardens can serve for a maximum of six years continuously. They are then ineligible for election for two years. This rule came into effect in 2002 and was not retrospective, so it can first be applied in 2008. A Meeting of Parishioners can vote that the rule shall not apply to their parish.
Second, in reply to Richard. My diocese (Liverpool) has written to all incumbents and electoral roll officers about the requirement to compile a new roll this year and has put details on the diocesan website. I would be surprised if other dioceses do not do something similar. Of course there may be some clergy who do not read their diocesan mailing.
The PCC has no power to override the requirement to produce a new roll this year.
The rules do not have a section about what happens if a new roll is not prepared. Notice of the preparation of the new roll has to be given at least two months before the annual parochial church meeting. If there is no such notice (or if there is a notice that the roll will only be revised) then I suggest that you ask the minister if the requirement for a new roll has been overlooked. If you do not get a satisfactory reply then I suggest that you contact the archdeacon.
My understanding of the rules is that the number of ordinary PCC members to be elected this year is determined by the size of the new roll. However if you elect one third each year then I think the change should be phased in. For example if you now have 15 members with 5 elected each year and your new roll means you now have only 12 I would say elect 4 this year (and next year etc).
I should point out that I am not a lawyer so the above should not be construed as legal advice.
Can anyone tell me the formula for calculating the number of the ordinary PCC members from the size of our new electoral roll?
Can anyone tell me whether a retiring Church Warden is allowed to be elected immediately as an ordinary PCC member?
Yes. Provided he or she satisfies the relevant qualifications there is nothing to stop a retiring churchwarden being elected immediately as an ordinary PCC member.
The number of "ordinary" members of the PCC (technically representatives of the laity) is:
electoral roll not more than 50 - six reps
roll 51 to 100 - nine reps
roll more than 100 - an extra three reps for every 100 (or part thereof) names up to a maximum of 15
This last bit translates as
roll 101 to 200 - 12 reps
roll more than 200 - 15 reps
Unless the APCM has voted otherwise one third of the reps are elected each year for a three year period of office. The APCM can also vote to change the scale of representation. In each case the APCM decision only comes into effect at the following APCM.
Last year, my church only had 12 reps instead of the required 15 and this year's APCM is due to be held in two days time. If I point out the discrepancy at the meeting, are we obliged and are we permitted to elect three more lay reps at the meeting or must we wait a year for the change to come into effect?
Likewise, my church does not recognise that lay readers are ex-officio members of the PCC. If this year's APCM recognises that they should be ex-officio members, does the ruling take effect immediately or must it wait a year for the change to take effect?
The rules are silent on what to do if the number of reps changes. An increase is probably easier to deal with than a decrease.
I assume that you have been electing four reps each year instead of the correct five. So in effect you have some casual vacancies for people who should have been elected one or two years ago. I also assume that four of your current reps will retire this year after completing their three year term of office.
So you elect five reps for three years, one for two years and one for one year.
The requirement to wait a year for changes to come into effect does not apply to making readers ex-officio members so your annual meeting can decide to do this straight away.
What is the proceedure for asking for a vote in Diocesan Synod to be taken in houses?
There are a few occasions when a vote by houses is compulsory in a diocesan synod. Such a vote is not permitted for a vote on a matter of procedure. For other votes the president or any ten members can require a vote by houses. This is all set out in Church Representation Rule 34(1).
Unless your diocesan synod standing orders say otherwise the normal procedure would be for a member to rise on a point of order and ask for a vote by houses. The person in the chair would then ask members to show their support and if there are ten or more the vote by houses is taken.
Thanks for this mine of information. We are in a benefice of 7 separate parishes with their own PCCs. I am a Deanery Synod Rep from one PCC and treaurer of another and wsa happily accepted on the electoral of 4 of the parishes. I am also a member of Diocesan Synod (but no longer on General Synod!).
Can someone tell me what I can do or perhaps let sleeping pariochial dogs lie?!).
I gather Treasurer does not have to be elected so that could make 2 legal positions,but what about the rest?
What happens if a new churchwarden cannot be found and the PCC/AGM do not pass the resolution. It seems to militate against removing factions!
I am seeking comments
A PCC does not put out any notices concerning the election of Churchwardens or election of PCC members.This seems to have been going on for years
The notice just says there is an AGM to be held on 'x' date.
Is this acceptable, I am fully aware of the legislation.
Any comments on the legality of those elected in such circumstances ?
I am a Reader and Diocesan Synod member who has moved parishes within the Deanery. The PCC Secretary claims that I must be on the electoral roll for 6 months before going on the PCC. I claim that if the APCM agree to have Readers on the PCC, and the new PCC (and the vicar) welcomes my transfer I am on. I claim that the 6 month rule only applies to people being elected or chosen to represent the laity at the APCM and not to ex-officio members. Help! How many days before the APCM does the agenda have to be published? Ours is 22nd April.
I agree with you Stephen. The requirement to be on the electoral roll for six months is in rule 10(1) and explicitly refers to "a person to be elected a parochial representative of the laity to either the parochial church council or the deanery synod". Rule 14(1)(e), which allows the annual meeting to decide that some or all of the readers licensed to the parish shall be members of the PCC, does not have this restriction.
PS to Stephen
Since you have moved within a deanery my understanding is that you retain your membership of the diocesan synod provided that you are remain on the electoral roll of a parish in the deanery. This makes you an ex officio member of your new parish.
I don't think that there is anything in the rules that requires the publication of an agenda for the annual meeting. There is a requirement [rule 7(1)] to post a notice on or near the principal door of the church for a period including the two previous Sundays. The form of the notice is set out in the rules and includes a list of items that the meeting is required to consider.
Thank you Peter for your prompt reply and enjoy the heatwave.
Is it possible for a person to vote at an annual meeting by proxy?
There is no provision in the rules for proxy voting.
I am on two electoral rolls, one PCC and one Deanery Synod for one of the rolls.
I have been put forward for election to another PCC in the same Deanery. Will Church Representation Rules allow me to be on two PCCs as long as I remain on the Deanery Synod for only one of the PCCs?
You are allowed to be on the electoral roll of two parishes and to be elected to the PCC of each parish. But you must choose one of these for the purposes of elections to deanery synod (and other higher synods). In your case you have already in effect chosen the parish that has elected you to deanery synod. So if you really want to be on two PCCs there is nothing to stop you standing for election in the second parish.
By the way this applies even if the two parishes are in different deaneries.
The relevant rule is 1(4).
In an interregnum, does the vice chair of the PCC have any powers other than presiding over the meeting? He is not a Churchwarden.
In an interregnum, the vice-chair of the PCC is also responsible for convening and chairing the annual meeting.
Is it true that husbands and wives should not be on a PCC together? Also, I have just seen the above, most of which I was unaware of, and we have just had our AGM and have 13 members of PCC, when we should have 9. And there is no arrangement in place regarding serving for 3 years. Should we do anything about this or wait for next year's AGM.
And another - is there any arrangement in place for removing a member of a PCC should the majority of members wish to do so?
1) There is no legal impediment to husbands and wives being on the PCC together.
2) My advice is to wait until next year to sort out the correct number of members. For the time being rely on rule 53(3) which says that your proceedings are not invalidated by "any defect in the qualification, election or appointment of any members thereof."
If, as I understand, you have just elected 13 people for one year, then elect nine next year. After the election draw lots to decide which three will retire after three years, which after two and which after one. [See rule 16(6)]
3) The PCC has no powers to expel any of its members.
Very useful information, thankyou, but a potential nightmare.
For example, I persuaded one person to join PCC to be Secretary, since no-one on PCC wanted to be Secretary. This person had not been on the electoral roll for 6 months. Also she might not have got elected if we could only elect 9 out of 13. So we would be struggling for a PCC Secretary.
For myself, I am Treasurer, because again no-one else on PCC wnated to do it or thought themselves able to do it. If I had not got elected presumably we would have no Treasurer.
Next year when 4 people are 'booted off' the PCC I can well imaging at least one of them storming out and never darkening our doors again.
By the same token, we have been trying to encourage the right people onto PCC so it is positive and works as a team, yet we seem obliged to have to put up with people who can get elected and who we know are just troublemakers.
The only flicker of hope is the ex-officio members, who are presumably in addition to the 9. Perhaps you could help me understand who could be an ex-officio member, for example if we had to appoint a Treasurer from outside PCC. Are our 2 Deanery synod members included in the 9. Are we really saying that if someone fantastic and wonderful moves to our parish 2 months before the next AGM and is chomping at the bit to help us out, that we must not allow him or her because they won't have been on the electoral roll for 6 months?
Lastly, can I assume that when people's 3 year terms are up, they can apply for re-election.
Can any of these rules be varied by vote at an AGM.
The PCC secretary and treasurer do not have to be members of the PCC. See these extracts from Appendix II to the rules:
1(d)(i) The Council may appoint one of their number to act as secretary of the Council. Failing such appointment the office of secretary shall be discharged by some other fit person who shall not thereby become a member of the Council, provided that such person may be co-opted to the Council in accordance with the provisions of rule 14(1)(h).
(e)(i) The council may appoint one or more of their number to act as treasurer solely or jointly. Failing such appointment, the office of treasurer shall be discharged either —
by such of the churchwardens as are members of the council or, if there is only one such churchwarden, by that churchwarden solely; or
by some other fit person who shall not thereby become a member of the council, provided that such person may be co-opted to the council in accordance with the provisions of rule 14(1)(h).
Ex Officio members, such as the churchwardens and the deanery synod members, are in addition to the nine elected members. If you have any readers in your parish the annual meeting can decide that some or all of them shall be members of the PCC. In addition, for your size of PCC, you can co-opt up to two members.
Although people have to be on the electoral roll for six months before they can be elected to the PCC this restriction does not apply to co-opted members.
Since it is not part of the UK the Isle of Man can change the English Church Representation Rules, so it is probably unwise to rely on their version.
My wife was nominated for election to the District Church Council. There were 3 other nominees i.e. 4 in total. There were 4 places vacant of the DCC. I am already on the DCC.
1. The chairman(incumbent) said, before the election, that he did not believe in having husbands and wives of the DCC and did not want it to happen.
2. A vote was held and my wife came last (the chairman announced the number of votes for each candidate).
3. The chairman then announced that, as one of the places was for 1 year and 3 were for 3 years the election had been for the 3 year places so my wife was not elected and he would co-opt someone for the 1 year place.
4. I have subsequently found out that one of the other candidates who was 'elected' had not been on the electoral role for 6 months.
What is my wife's position now - is she elected or not?
I am rather confused, bemused and upset.
Peter, I don't think I can offer much help in this case. The rules for DCCs, including whether to have them at all, are decided upon by the annual meeting of the parish, subject to the approval of the bishop's council. So you will have to look at the agreed scheme for your particular parish to see what the election rules are for your DCC.
What are the circumstances in which an extraordinary general meeting can be called, who can call one and on what basis, please. In particular, can one be called to challenge the PCC elections at the AGM.
3 years ago I was elected to the PCC. I am now a Reader and it was decided I shouldn't stand nor be co opted but become an ex officio member.
However, this was not done at the APCM. Is it OK to tidy this up at the first meeting of the new PCC? Should it be done each year?
It is the Annual Meeting which has the power to make some or all of the readers in the parish members of the PCC. The PCC itself cannot do this. So there is nothing that can be done about this until the next Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting does not have to vote on this every year. It could for example pass the resolution "that every reader licensed to this parish shall be a member of the PCC until further resolution of the annual meeting", and this would remain in effect until changed.
All the PCC can do this year is vote to co-opt you for the coming year.
We have a pastoral scheme that comes into effect on 1st June, two urban parishes made into one.
Rules 1(6) b, 7 (5) and 9 (6) a & b seem clear enough.
But it is not clear to me whether the special parochial church meeting of the newly created parish can make a scheme as per Rule 18 and for it to have immediate effect or whether we have to await Bishop's Council approval etc and then wait for it to come into effect a year later.
My reading of rule 18 is that you must wait for the approval of the Bishop's Council. It then comes into effect, not a year later, but at the next annual meeting in March/April 2008. But I have not experience of such matters. Since you have to get approval from the Bishop's Council perhaps it would be best if you approached the diocesan secretary or registrar for advice.
Just 24 hours into becoming PCC Secretary I am struggling for some answers. It is over 25 years since I served on a PCC and times have changed, but! Is it a requirement for a PCC to have a constitution? I have searched high and low online and failed to find an answer - also failed to find a trace of anyone who is aware of a constitution in the Parish - even those who have been around for many years.
PCCs don't have individual constitutions.
In Mark Hill's Ecclesiatical Law it says that "Its [a PCC's] composition is regulated by the Church Representation Rules and its powers and duties are to be found in those rules, in the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956, and elsewhere in other Statutes, Measures and Canons."
That's the nearest you'll get to a constitution.
Our priest and Standing Committee refuse to give the PCC minutes of the Standing Committee meetings and describe the Standing Committee as the Executive arm of the PCC. Your comment?
What have they got to hide?
Appendix II [General Provisions relating to Parochial Church Councils] of the Church Representation Rules includes the following.
14(b) The standing committee shall have power to transact the business of the council between the meetings thereof subject to any directions given by the council.
To me this says that the standing committee is acting on behalf of the council and I don't see how it can do this if it refuses to tell the PCC what it is doing. But this also gives the PCC power to direct the standing committee. Perhaps you should propose a motion at the PCC directing the standing committee to report to the PCC on its activities.
"Ignorance" of the law" is no defence yet just why should we have to pay to see what is written on laws/orders/rules. I consider that the Representation Rules, as all legislation, should be published on the net. We have after all paid for these laws/orders/rules to be written in our name. Does paying for them increase their quality?
I think we have too many people on the PCC (I am hon sec). New electoral roll is 32. Apart from the ex-officios, how many should we have?
ex-officios are Priest, 2 churchwardens.
Other dutied members are Deanery Synod Rep, Treasurer, Lay pastor, Hon Sec. Do these latter count as lay?
With the size of your electoral roll you should elect six "representatives of the laity" to the PCC. The priest, churchwardens and deanery synod rep(s) are in addition to this. With your size of PCC the PCC can also co-opt up to two members.
The treasurer and secretary are not actually required to be members of the PCC. If you want them to be PCC members then you must either choose them from the members you already have or co-opt them onto the council.
I don't know about your lay pastor since this is not a position recognised by the rules. If he/she is a lay worker licensed to the parish then he/she is an ex officio member. If he/she is a reader then the annual meeting (not the PCC) can decide to make him/her a member of the PCC. If neither of these apply them he/she must be elected to the PCC or be co-opted.
You will notice that you cannot co-opt all three of treasurer, secretary and lay pastor as this would exceed the maximum number allowed.
Everybody apart from the clergy (ie bishops, priests and deacons) are lay.
A standing committee was pulled together by the Priest in Charge without following the church rules of electing 2 from the PCC. Since being advised that this committee should report back to the PCC, they have not met. I understand that there may be another (concealed) committee and I'd like to word an agenda item to convey that if this is so, they must also report back to the PCC - IF this is the case. Should minutes be taken, in any case, by any committee relating to PCC matters?
So far as I can see the only rule governing the PCC standing committee is the one I have already referred to in my reply to Tony on 28 May which makes it subject to the direction of the PCC. One direction might be to require minutes to be presented to the PCC.
The rules allow for other committees, but they must be appointed by the PCC. A "concealed" committee would have no legal standing, although its individual members might have. And there is nothing to stop the P-i-C consulting with whoever he/she chooses.
Please can you clarify voting rights of any co-opted PCC members. Is it correct that paid lay members of staff eg administrators, may be co-opted on to PCC but may not vote?
It's important to distinguish between co-opted members and people in attendance. Co-opted members are members and have the same rights (eg to vote), duties and responsibilites as any other member such as the vicar and elected members.
Other people, such as your paid administrator, can be invited to attend, and with the permission of the meeting, to speak. But they are not members and so, in particular, they cannot vote. Equally they do not share in the PCC's responsibility for its actions.
We have a treasurer who is not a church member, is not on the pcc and is not qualified to be co-opted. He attends all pcc meetings and I have just heard that he is on the standing committee. Surely members of the standing committee MUST be on the pcc.
Yes, members of the standing committee must be chosen from the members of the PCC; see Appendix II to the rules, paragraph 14(a). But I don't think there is anything to stop your treasurer attending standing committee meetings if the standing committee invites him/her. My personal advice would be for the PCC to explicitly allow this each year when it appoints the members of the standing committee.
Thank you for your previous advice.
Can you confirm whether or not Minutes should be taken at church wardens' meetings? Things that are said and agreed are not being relayed to parishes and it is causing some doubts.
You will have to tell me what you mean by "church wardens' meetings" before I can answer your question.
Regular meetings are held for all the church wardens from the 5 parishes in the benefice and the priest-in-charge presides. A few of us are concerned that things are being agreed at these meetings that are not then relayed back to the parishes' PCCs. One church warden (not my parish) is VERY concerned that the meetings are not minuted and she's tried to explain why to the Priest-in-Charge but nothing has been done about it. An ex-church warden I've spoken to says the meetings never were minuted.
Thanks to your help we have now sorted out our "resolutions" regarding number on PCC, non-communicant members, etc., which was taken seriously when our priest-in-charge (who had been dismissive of worrying about it when I 'phoned him) spoke to the Archdeacon who asked to be notified by letter when we had made the necessary changes.
Sometimes it's quite difficult to make corrections when things have been allowed to lapse and there's a new person in the driving seat.
Your question takes us beyond the Church Representation Rules and into the law governing the powers of churchwardens and clergy. If, as you say, you have a united benefice of five separate parishes, then I don't think that the meeting of churchwardens that you describe has any legal status. However I suppose it could be considered to be five separate meetings (one for each parish) taking place simultaneously. The wardens and p-in-c for any one parish can then put the decisions into effect for their parish - provided that they are decisions that they are legally empowered to make. Many decisions would require the agreement of the PCC, particularly if they involve spending the PCC's money.
I can think of two good reasons for the wardens to record these decisions and report them to the PCC.
1) Keeping the support of the PCC; there will be times when the wardens and p-in-c will need and/or be glad of this support.
2) Providing evidence of what was decided and how it was decided if there is ever a dispute.
But do bear in mind that I have no personal experience of multi-parish benefices.
Thank you Peter. I will probably have to find literature on church wardens to see whether there are any rulings. My worry, and that of the church warden who is concerned, is that notes may be taken by individuals but as I know from 19 years of being PCC Sec unless they all agree to the same report which gets signed, things get misconstrued and they all say they are right ...... and it's bedlam !
What I hope is a simple question. As the PCC represents the congregation is there a specific requirement for their meetings to be minuted and these made available for the congregation to look at.
1) Yes, PCC meetings must be minuted.
2) Members of the electoral roll may have access to approved minutes of PCC meetings held after the 1995 annual meeting, except for any minutes deemed by the PCC to be confidential.
3) Other people may have access to PCC minutes only in accordance with a specific authorization of the PCC.
Details are in Appendix II of the Rules.
Could you summarise the requirements for looking at resolutions A&B during an interregnum? We have just begun an interregnum and the Forward in Faith supporters (1 of them is one the PCC) says we should give 28 days notice to the congregation that we are going to vote on A&B. However the Rural Dean says we don't have to give such notice as we are in interrugnum, though he is willing to wait to draft his advertisement if we want to! The Forward in Faith supporters also say that an interregnum is the only time that A&B may be considered, though we don't have to look at them if the PCC don't want to. What do you think?
The "designated officer" in your diocese must inform the patron and your PCC of the impending vacancy. The PCC must then hold a "section 11 meeting" within 28 days and discuss six matters, for example the appointment of two lay members to represent the PCC in the process of finding a new incumbent. One of the six matters is the consideration of resolutions A and B. They must be on the agenda, but the PCC is not required to vote on them if it chooses not to. But unless resolution B is passed the PCC is open to prosecution if it subsequently vetoes the appointment of a woman (on gender grounds alone).
My understanding of the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 is that there is never any requirement to inform the congregation the the PCC is going to consider the resolutions. There is a requirement to give the PCC members four weeks notice, but this does not apply in the case of a section 11 meeting.
Could you tell me what happens to a parish church if they cant find a new church warden
If the annual meeting fails to elect a churchwarden then the retiring warden remains in office until 31 July. A casual vacancy in the office is then deemed to have arisen.
To fill the casual vacancy a meeting of parishioners is called and an election held in the same way as at the annual meeting.
If there is one warden that person exercises the duties and responsibilities of the wardens on his/her own. From the warden's point of view the main problem is having no one to share the work with. I don't know what happens if there are vacancies for both wardens.
Our parish is in a group of seven, with one incumbent. One parishoner has the job of 'benefice treasurer' and he looks after a 'benefice' account, for which he is the sole signatory. Unlike the individual PCCs, annual accounts have never been produced or audited and are not made available for discussion.
Parish accounts are subject to Church Representation Rules but are there any guidelines governing 'benefice' accounts and are they automatically registered under the Charities Act like PCCs so that gift aid can be claimed?
Thank you for your reply Peter I can't find an answer at present
In your circumstances it is possible to set up a joint PCC for two or more parishes in your benefice and to delegate some of the powers of the individual PCCs to this joint council. Rule 19 (which is too long to summarize here) has the details. I cannot find anything in what I have to hand to tell me whether the joint PCC is automatically a charity.
However, what you describe appears to be an informal arrangement which is clearly not a charity. Although it may be convenient to have such an account my view is that more than one person should be involved in running it and that annual accounts should be prepared and presented to each PCC. Assuming that the annual income and expenditure are both less than £250,000 then the accounts should be independently examined.
You don't say where the account is getting its money from, but presumably the PCCs are contributing. I think that they would be unwise to do this without the safeguards that I suggest above.
Please forgive me if this question has already been asked above. Are there guidelines as to voting rights of those on the PCC. For example: If a PCC member (who also happens to be on Synod as well) has not attended any meeting or church service for a several months (almost year) does this affect their voting rights at meetings in any way? Thanks
All members of the PCC and synods are entitled to vote. There is no minimum attendance requirement for remaining a member. Provided they remain on the electoral roll (which for a non-resident of the parish requires "habitual attendance" at public worship in the parish) they remain members of the PCC and/or synod until their term of office comes to an end.
My parish is in a group where the presentation is currently suspended. We are grouped with another 3 parishes and their incumbent is our priest in charge. It is planned to set up a "constitution" to allow some of the business of the whole group of 8 parishes to be decided by an area committee made up principally of churchwardens, rather than separately by the 8 PCCs. Is this a usual practice where large numbers of parishes are pushed into a group? Some PCC members fear that agreeing to this will make it even less likely that we will ever see an incumbent for our parish again and will be construed a acceptance of the current situation. How much can a PCC prevent this sort of change being pushed on them from above? I am new to this and find it difficult to understand the balance of power between the various parties
Again, I have to ask you for advice ! We have a lay worker who was commissioned in November 2006 and she sometimes leads services. Most recently she held a healing service (and just a few people attended) but she took it upon herself to offer laying on of hands - which she did with one person. I have a fully knowledgeable friend who is herself a priest and she has said laying on of hands in church is not allowed except by an ordinand. Can you confirm, please?
In reply to Shirley West I do not know the answer myself but I have found this guidance on the website of the diocese of London.
If I had read this correctly, lay people are allowed to offer laying on of hands. Of course your lay worker should not be doing this without appropriate training and the approval of the parish priest.
It is anointing that is restricted to priests.
In reply to Sue Rule 19 makes provision for joint PCCs to be set up in certain circumstances. This applies "where there are two or more parishes within the area of a single benefice or two or more benefices are held in plurality". I don't think that this applies in your case because I don't think that your priest is considered to hold the benefice that includes your parish. But I might be wrong.
However there is nothing to stop the eight parishes setting up an informal arrangement, and from a practical point of view this seems like a good idea if only to ensure that your priest is not expected to be in eight different places at once.
Since I know nothing of your local circumstances I prefer not to comment on whether it is reasonable for your eight parishes to share one priest or how you might try to prevent this.
Thank you for your help and referral to the Diocese of London website. It answers all the questions.
The CRR says in 1(2) '... where a lay person will have his sixteenth birthday after the intended revision of the electoral roll or the preparation of a new roll but on or before the date of the annual parochial church meeting, he may complete a form of application and his name shall be enrolled but with effect from the date of his birthday.'
The ER Form says 'Those who become 16 during the next 12 months may complete the form, and become eligible to be entered on the Roll on their sixteenth birthday'
If the latter is correct, where is the rule which justifies it?
We have a licenced lay worker who is an ex officio member of our PCC, but can you clarify whether this status specifically excludes voting rights? Also, since the APM can decide that some/all readers shall be members of the PCC, would this extend to readers in training, who presumably at that stage are not licensed?
1) Ex officio members of the PCC are members, ie they have the same rights to vote (and speak) as any other member.
2) The rule that allows the APCM to make some or all readers members of the PCC only applies to readers licensed to the parish (or to an area that includes the parish). Training comes before licensing.
I understand that churchwardens can only serve a minimum of six years and if they wish to serve longer than this then they have to be reelected by resolution at the parishioners meeting? Presumably, the protocol at such a meeting would be to mention that that person can not restand and it would then be up to the parishioners themselves to put forward a resolution that is seconded and then voted upon? Also, do nominees for Church Warden have to be displayed prior to this meeting (ie dislayed on a notice in church) or can they be given out at the meeting without prior notice (as long as they themselves are aware and have consented in writing)?
Excuse me Ro if I clarify some of what you write as well as answer your questions.
Churchwardens can serve for a maximum of six continuous years, but they are only elected for one year at a time. They must be re-elected at each annual meeting.
The annual meeting can vote to dispense with this six-year limitation. But for someone to stand for election they must be eligible at the start of the meeting. This means that a decision at one annual meeting to dispense with the six-year rule can only come into effect at the following year's meeting.
There is no requirement to publish nominations for churchwarden before the annual meeting. Since they can be given to the minister at any time before the meeting starts it would not always be possible to publish them in advance. Nominations must be in writing and include the nominee's signature as evidence that he or she is willing to stand and is not disqualified from so doing.
who decides how many Pcc meetings should be held (above the requirement of 4), is it the PCC or the vicar?
The chairman of the PCC (who is normally the minister) may call a meeting at any time. In addition one third of the members may requisition a meeting.
In practice most PCCs agree a schedule of meetings once a year, which the chairman then calls.
Frequently at PCC meetings out vicar has said that we msut not talk about the discussions held in the meetings to anyone as while "decisions of the PCC are public matters the discussions are confidential" ... is this really true? My assumption from the way Synods, school governors and other similar meetings work is that they are open meetings unless the the meeting explicitly decides otherwise (e.g. as a school governor we once had to resolve to handle an item about an employment tribunal as "confidential" but everything else was open). Its becoming an issue as PCC are starting discussions over arrangements for replacing out vicar on his retirement which the rest of the church are sure to have views on but where we are being firmly told we have to keep quiet!
The Rules give members of the electoral roll the right to see the approved PCC minutes, apart form any that the Council deem to be confidential. Other people can only have access with the explicit approval of the PCC. Minutes, of course, are a record of decisions and not of discussion.
There is nothing that I can see in the rules about the attendance of non-members at PCC meetings, but the rules about the minutes only make sense if non-members do not have the right to attend.
So my view is that PCC meetings and its discussions are private, unless the council decides otherwise.
Is there any regulation or protocol which relates to an incumbent actively involving herself in seeking to overturn a PCC decision relating to a pastoral reorganisation submission to the Bishop? The outcome would only become effective after her departure, but threatens to break up a benefice of 25 years duration against the wish of of the parishioners if the PCC is persuaded to be "loyal" to the incumbent rather than the parishioners as in last week's vote.
My understanding is that the incumbent is an interested party and so is entitled to be consulted and make representations in her own right. I am not aware of any regulation or rule which would stop her from asking the PCC to reconsider its decision but the PCC is fully entitled to say no.
I would have thought that best practice when the PCC and incumbent do not agree is for each to make their own response.
But this is not something of which I have personal experience.
If as part of a proposal to create a new Team Ministry the Bishop may by instrument "make provision for the functions of the PCCs in the team/benefice area which must or may be delegated to the team council being provisions to the same effect as those which may be made by a Scheme under the Church Representation Rules in like case", can a PCC be made to surrender its powers? and which ones? Where do I find the relevant Rules?
You don't state where your quotation comes from but I assume that it is not from the Church Representation Rules but from the rules governing the formation of a Team Ministry. Is it a provision in the Pastoral Measure? If it is I do not have the knowledge to answer your first two questions.
The answer to your last question is Church Representation Rule 20 "Team Council". This starts "Where a team ministry is established for the area of a benefice which comprises more than one parish the annual meetings of the parishes in that area may make a joint scheme to provide...". The rule is too long (2 pages) to quote in full here.
Please could someone tell me if there is a maximum limit to how long co-opted members (such as secretaries, treasurers) can be in office? Or is it unlimited with the agreement of the PCC/Annual Meeting?
Co-opted members of a PCC remain in office until the end of the next annual meeting after their co-option. But provided that they remain eligible they can be co-opted again at a later PCC meeting. This procedure can be repeated each year without limit. (See rule 14(1)(h)).
You refer specifically to the treasurer and secretary. If the PCC does not appoint one of its own members to either of these posts it can appoint a non-member (who does not thereby become a member of the PCC). This is not co-option although the PCC can choose to co-opt such a person if he/she is eligible. There is no limit on the term of office of such a secretary or treasurer. (See Appendix II to the rules paragraphs 1(d)(i) and 1(e)(i).)
Co-option to the PCC and the appointment of the secretary and treasurer are matters for the PCC and not the annual meeting.
You cite above that the lay vice chair is responsible for convening and chairing the APM. Our vicar departs before the APM but insists that the Wardens have full responsibility for all affairs APM and PCC in the interregnum. It would seem logical for the vice chair to continue to chair the PCC (he is very good at it)or agree that the priest i/c should do it if he/she is OK. Are there any rules on this and if so can you give references we can consult? Many thanks,
Your vicar is wrong. I give the relevant extracts from the rules below and you will see that they make no mention of the churchwardens.
Convening and chairing the annual meeting are covered by rules 7 and 8. Here are the relevant extracts.
Rule 7 Convening of Meeting
(3) During the vacancy of the benefice or curacy or when the minister is absent or incapacitated by illness or any other cause, the vice-chairman of the parochial church council, or if there is no vice-chairman, or if he is unable or unwilling to act, the secretary of or some other person appointed by that council shall have all the powers vested in the minister under this rule.
Rule 8 Chairman
(1) The minister, if present, or, if he is not present, the vice-chairman of the parochial church council, or, subject to paragraph (2) of this rule, if he also is not present, a chairman chosen by the annual meeting shall preside thereat.
Chairing the PCC is governed by this extract from Appendix II to the Rules.
5. Subject to the provisions of rules 22 and 23 the chair at a meeting of the council shall be taken -
(a) by the chairman of the council if he is present;
(b) if the chairman is not present, by a Clerk in Holy Orders, licensed to or with permission to officiate in the parish duly authorized by the bishop with the clerk's agreement, following a joint application by the minister of the parish and the council or, if the benefice is vacant, by the council for the purposes of this sub-paragraph;
(c) if neither the chairman of the council nor the clerk mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) above is present, by the vice-chairman of the council:
Paragraph 5 goes on to deal with what happens if the chiarman presiding stands down or if none of the persons in (a), (b) and (c) is available to take the chair. Rules 22 and 23 deal respectively with special and extraordinary meetings of the PCC.
At this year's APCM we have 4 PCC members who have come to the end of their 3-year term of office; also we have 3 Deanery Synod reps coming to the end of their term of office; plus we have one churchwarden standing down at the end of her 6 years. We could therefore potentially lose 8 members from PCC in one go. Please can you tell me if deanery synod reps are eligible to be re-elected to that role, and/or can they be elected as ordinary PCC members? Also can PCC members coming off because they have done 3 years immediately become Deanery Synod reps and therefore stay on PCC in that new role? Many thanks.
In brief, the answer to all your questions is "yes".
To expand on this, deanery synod representatives are eligible for immediate re-election at the end of their three-year term of office, and there is no limit on how many times they can be re-elected.
There is nothing to prevent a retiring deanery synod rep being elected an "ordinary" member (what the rules call "representatives of the laity") of the PCC or vice versa.
There is nothing to prevent someone being a member in two capacities (eg churchwarden and deanery synod rep) at they same time, although they would only get one vote.
The only restrictions on re-election apply to churchwardens and "ordinary" members of the PCC.
For various reasons we did not create a new ER in 2007, and are planning to do so this year. Does this lack of a valid ER create any problems - such as for marriages conducted in the period, for example?
The only reference to such a failure that I can find in the rules is in Rule 53 (Special Provisions) which contains this paragraph:
(5) In the case of an omission in any parish to prepare or maintain a roll or form or maintain a council or to hold the annual meeting, the rural dean upon such omission being brought to his notice shall ascertain and report to the bishop the cause thereof.
Paragraph (1) of the rule gives the bishop some powers to act in these circumstances, but he is explicitly forbidden "to validate anything that was invalid at the time it was done".
I am not a lawyer so it's probably best if I don't give my opinion of what effect your lack of a valid electoral roll has on the actions of your PCC and on marriages that relied on electoral roll membership to be held in your church. I think you should do what the rules say and tell the rural dean. For the marriages I suggest you consult the diocesan registrar.
I cannot find anywhere a list of the PCC's responsibilities. Is the PCC responsible for all church affairs, and if so, what does that mean? Or is the PCC legally responsible only for that which the vicar and church wardens choose? If, for example, the administrator wants to buy a new ream of paper, does he or she need PCC approval? On the other hand, if the administrator commits a felony which might require his or her dismissal - a purely fictitious example, you understand - would the PCC legally have to approve the dismissal? Notwithstanding the fact that we have a very good working arrangement in our church, I can't find anything in the rules that tells us what the PCC must do.
Does the incumbent of a Parish have the right to veto any nomination for the position of Church Warden before an election takes place?
I am the electoral roll officer for my Church...where in the Church Representation rules does it state that all those applying to be included on the roll have to be accepted by the PCC at their meeting first.....
The powers and responsibilities of the parochial church council are not in the Church Representation Rules. They are contained in various Church of England Measures and Acts of Parliament. For a summary (too long to reproduce here) may I refer you to chapter 11 of the latest edition of "A Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors" by MacMorran and Briden (ISBN-10: 0826481531).
The incumbent has no right to veto any nomination for churchwarden. However under certain circumstances the incumbent can decide that he/she shall choose one warden and that the annual meeting shall elect the other. The details are in the Churchwardens Measure 2001 Clause 4(5):
"If it appears to the minister of the parish that the election of any particular person nominated might give rise to serious difficulties between the minister and that person in the carrying out of their respective functions the minister may, before the election is conducted, make a statement to the effect that only one churchwarden is to be elected by the meeting. In that event one churchwarden shall be appointed by the minister from among the persons nominated, the name of the person so appointed being announced before the election is conducted, and the other shall then be elected by the meeting."
You will note that even under these circumstances both wardens are appointed or elected from amongst those who have been nominated. There is nothing to stop the meeting electing the person to whom the incumbent takes exception.
The short answer to your question is "nowhere".
Rule 1(2) is quite clear that any person satisfying certain conditions is "entitled" to have his or her name entered on the roll. There is no place for the PCC to decide whether or not to accept them.
It is the responsibility of the electoral roll officer to add names to or remove them from the roll and "to report such additions and removals at the next meeting of the parochial church council" [Rule 1(8)]. You will see that the rule says "report to" and not "refer for a decision to".
It is possible to appeal against the addition or removal of a name (see Rule 43) but such appeals are heard by a panel drawn from the bishop's council of the diocese. Lay members of the PCC (but not clerical members) are entitled to make such an appeal if they consider that the electoral officer has added or removed a name incorrectly.
Thank you Peter for the reference you gave me on the powers and responsibilities of the parochial church council. I have one further question. If the PCC that is elected in April 2007 hands over day-to-day responsibility for running the church to the administrator at its first meeting, does that devolution of responsibility continue until it is revoked or does it have to be renewed every year at the first meeting of every subsequent PCC?
Unless the resolution of your PCC states otherwise it remains in effect until revoked. Even if it includes a time-limit that limit can be changed by a subsequent resolution.
Our PCC are considering voting for an extension to the church and the signs are that it will be a unanimous vote. One or two anti members of the church congregation feel they should have a vote as well and we have clearly stated that the PCC are voted by them each year at the APCM to make decisions on their behalf. I would say that the vast majority of the congregation are in favour. Do you have any words of wisdom on this?
This is clearly a PCC matter. Meetings of parishioners have no power to instruct the PCC although they can pass resolutions that make recommendations to the PCC. See rule 9(7).
9(7) Any person entitled to attend the annual meeting may ask any question about parochial church matters, or bring about a discussion of any matter of parochial or general church interest, by moving a general resolution or by moving to give any particular recommendations to the council in relation to its duties.
So your anti members could propose a motion recommending the PCC not to build an extension, but not one instructing the PCC.
However I am sure that for such a major matter the congregation should be consulted whilst making it clear that the PCC will make the actual decision. You might want to hold one or more meetings for this purpose. My personal advice would be not to do this at the annual meeting, but to hold a meeting for this one purpose only.
thank you for your useful info supplied so far.
As to "outsiders" attending PCC meetings in a non-voting, non-speaking capacity, can the incumbent, a warden or a PCC member invite to be present at a PCC meeting, without PCC approval, either a)an ER member or b) a non-ER member?
Do the CRR give guidance on this?
I've answered most of your question before (on 6 December 2007) with the conclusion "So my view is that PCC meetings and its discussions are private, unless the council decides otherwise."
So non-members can only attend with the agreement of the council, and it doesn't make any difference whether or not they are on the electoral roll.
To save you scrolling through this long set of comments I have copied my previous comment at the end of this one.
The Rules give members of the electoral roll the right to see the approved PCC minutes, apart from any that the Council deem to be confidential. Other people can only have access with the explicit approval of the PCC. Minutes, of course, are a record of decisions and not of discussion.
There is nothing that I can see in the rules about the attendance of non-members at PCC meetings, but the rules about the minutes only make sense if non-members do not have the right to attend.
So my view is that PCC meetings and its discussions are private, unless the council decides otherwise.
We are one of three jt parishes. Our vicar is retiring imminently. We have held our sect 11 meeting and elected 2 representatives to decide the parish profile for use during the interview selection process. The representatives carrying our PCC instructions are meeting shortly to process this matter. Are churchwardens who have not been elected as one of the two representatives eligible to attend and take part in these meetings? Part of the discussions could be about churchwardens!
This is a Patronage Measure matter, rather than anything to do with the Church Representation Rules. There is a useful Grove Booklet about this which I have. So far as I can see the churchwardens do not have a place in the process simply because they are wardens. The PCC has certain rights and so do the parish reps. The wardens are only entitled to be involved as PCC members or (if elected) as parish reps.
The preparation of the parish profile is the responsibility of the PCC(s). You say that this has been delegated to the parish representatives (and nobody else). In that case only those reps are eligible to take part. So any wardens who are not reps are not entitled to attend any meetings of the parish reps.
Can you please advise what the current rules are in respect of postal voting for the election of churchwardens at the 'vestry meeting' prior to the APM. I am in the unfortunate position as the church organist/former churchwarden to be in conflict with our Lay Ministers who adopt a 'jobsworth' attitude in what they do. Because I cannot attend the APM because of other commitments elsewhere I have been told that I cannot have a postal vote but must be present. I believe that this is an attempt to stop me registering my disquiet about one of the candidates.
The Church Representation Rules have a provision for postal voting in elections for parochial representatives of the laity and for deanery synod members, but these do not apply to the election of churchwardens. So what you have been told is correct.
Where postal voting is permissible the annual meeting must first vote to allow it in the parish. One consequence of the detailed rules is that a decision made at one annual meeting can only come into effect at the following year.
I am our PCC representative to our Deanery Synod. I cannot find any information on how representatives of PCCs, Deanery Synods etc, should act when voting on a measure or proposal in the synod at which they are representing their parent body. Should they vote accoding to the will of their parent body, if it has been expressed, or should they vote according to their personal conviction? I would have thought it was the former, but I am led to believe the latter may be the case. Is there guidance on this aspect anywhere?
You are, as you say yourself, a representative, and not a delegate. Furthermore you are a representative of the laity of your parish (who have elected you) and not of the PCC.
There is no provision in the rules for representatives to be told how to vote.
Representatives should vote according to their personal conviction.
Can I clarify the issue of postal voting?
Firstly can anyone on the electoral roll not able to come to the APCM arrange to have a postal vote for electing PCC members? If so would the church have to agree to this a year in advance i.e. at this years APCM to take into effect next year?
Also assuming postal voting is allowed for PCC members would the votes have to be recived by the election date thus disadvantaging anyone standing 'on the day'?
Short answer: Yes, Yes, No.
I'll summarize the procedure for postal votes at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting so that you can see why this is so.
1) The APCM passes a resolution permitting postal votes. The meeting can do this for deanery synod members, ordinary PCC members or both.
2) The notice for the APCM includes a note that postal voting is permitted.
3) Those who want to vote by post must apply to the minister before the start of the APCM.
4) If an election at the APCM is contested a presiding officer is appointed by the meeting and voting papers are distributed to those present, and posted (within 48 hours) to those who have applied to vote by post. Those present vote at the meeting. Those voting by post have between 7 and 14 days* to return their voting papers to the presiding officer. The votes are then counted.
Since stage 2 starts before the APCM, stage 1 must have occurred at an earlier APCM.
* The exact length of time is decided by the presiding officer
At an APCM where there are elections to the PCC and the Deanery Synod, can the same person be nominated for both PCC and Deanery Synod?
If that is possible, what process is followed to prevent one person occupying both roles or could that happen?
There is nothing to stop one person being nominated for both deanery synod and PCC. Equally there is nothing to stop a person so nominated from being elected to both positions. However such a person would be only one member of the PCC with one vote.
Can you advise? I am a member of Diocesan Synod elected for 3 years from 2006-2009.
This year we will hold deanery synod elections at ou church AGM.
If I did not stand for election or was not elected to Deanery Synod, would I be considered to be ex-officio at Deanery Synod because I am still a member of Diocesan Synod?
The answer to your question is "yes".
For as long as you are an elected member of your diocesan synod you are also an ex officio member of your deanery synod and your PCC.
Thank you, Peter, for a very informative weblog. You are clearly "a rock".
Continued... One thing is very clear to me though that the Church should publish all the statutory rules and "A Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors" on-line, to help avoid misunderstandings and errors by clergy and laity alike. ...
I understand that PCC's do not have constitutions imposed upon them, but I presume there is no restriction on them adopting one, so long as it is consistent with the statutory rules. Does anyone have an example of such a thing, or Standing Orders for how a church's PCC should be conducted? I believe it would be very helpful for us to develop a model constitution for PCCsto adopt and amend to their own needs.
Our Team of 3 churches within a Parish was dissolved as at 1 April 2008 and we are now 2 parishes. [1 Parish Church and 2 Churches forming the other Parish]
Each church within the old Parish held their AGM's in March 2008
Our old Team Ministry is to hold the APCM on 27 April 2008 with consolidated accounts.
Can our new Parish also hold a separate APCM on 27 April 2008, mainly to 'rubber stamp' decisions made at our AGM, or should it join with the Old Team?
A PCC constitution would have to contain all the relevant parts of the Church Representation Rules, plus a statement that in the event of conflict the Rules take precedence. What extra items, not in the Rules, do you have in mind?
I don't know the answer to your query. The Rules have a section about what can happen when a Team is formed but I cannot see anything about dissolving a team.
I would expect the scheme that set up your new arrangements would contain any necessary transitional arrangements, such as who is initially on the two PCCs and how long their terms of office are.
Could you let please me know whether deputy churchwardens have to be members of the PCC and when co-opting members onto the PCC can just the chair do this or does it have to be a full PCC decision.
The answer to your first question depends on what you mean by "deputy churchwarden".
In a parish with two or more places of worship the annual meeting may make a scheme setting up district church councils. Such a scheme can include the election of deputy churchwardens and may provide for them to be ex-officio members of the PCC. The Pastoral Measure 1983 has similar provisions for district church councils and deputy churchwardens in a team ministry established by a pastoral scheme. If you mean either of these you will have to look in the scheme for your parish to find the answer to your question.
Alternatively you may mean the sort of unofficial deputy churchwarden that parishes sometimes appoint as a sort of superior sidesman. Since such an appointment is quite unofficial and gives the appointee no powers or rights then it's a local decision as to who is eligible.
To be a sidesman a person has to be on the electoral roll but that is all.
The power to co-opt to the PCC belongs to the PCC and not to the chair or any other individual.
Thank you Peter. Very helpful comments.
Pastoral Reorganisation has robbed us of our vicar so we are in a vacancy not an interregnum until "attached" to a neighbouring cluster of parishes. This will not be for at least a year.
We have a NSM helping us pro tem with communion services and there is a suggestion that she should be co-opted on to the PCC. Since she is not licensed to the parish or on the electoral roll, is this possible? Would it be better to vote to allow her to attend PCC meetings and speak as a "guest" but not have voting rights?
If she were co-opted, would she have the right to take the chair as the only clergy member?
You can co-opt any clerk in Holy Orders to the PCC, so there is no problem in co-opting the NSM (provided you don't go over the maximum allowed number of co-opted members*).
There is a provision for a clerk in holy orders to chair the PCC. It has to be somebody who is licensed to or with permission to officiate in the parish and the PCC has to apply to the bishop for authorization.
* This is one-fifth of the "ordinary" elected lay members or two, whichever is larger.
Our section 11 meeting is "ongoing". It all took so long, we are reconvening in a few days. We know that clergy do not attend, however are Church staff members that have been co-opted on allowed to attend?
I am a member of our PCC, and as part of the Diocesan Shrinking the Footprint Campagn in our Parish, I asked the treasurer if I could see the invoices for oil and electricity over the last 5 years. He refused, saying they were confidential. Surely this is not correct as the PCC is jointly responsible for the Church finances?
Do you mean "co-opted" or do you mean "in attendance"? A co-opted member is just as much a member as any elected member. Paid staff are not normally members of boards of trustees (which is what a PCC is). Charity law frowns on this because of the conflict of interest. However they may be invited to attend PCC meetings and speak (but not vote). Presumably the section 11 meeting of the PCC can also invite them, but it might be wise not to do so. You might find their presence inhibits some of the discussion, for example when you get to the section of the parish profile about the staff.
You are right to say that the PCC is responsible for the parish finances. I cannot see how the PCC can exercise this responsibility if it does not have access to invoices etc. Some of the information will be in the PCC annual accounts which are publicly available.
But this access is for the purpose of ensuring that your PCC finances are being looked after properly. I doubt that you have the right of access for other purposes, however worthy, which is what you appear to want to do here. For this I think you should obtain permission from the PCC.
Does someone, who is an unelected member of a Deanery Synod by virtue of being asked to continue as its Treasurer after his period of elected membership has ceased, continue to be a PCC member with full voting rights?
I assume that the deanery synod treasurer is a lay person.
The house of laity of the deanery synod can co-opt him/her as a member of the house of laity (Rule 24(7)). He/she is then a member of the PCC of the parish whose electoral roll he/she belongs to (Rule 14(1)(f)). This latter rule does not distinguish between elected and co-opted members of the deanery synod.
If he/she is not co-opted to the deanery synod then he/she is not a member of the synod or PCC. The synod might invite him/her to attend synod meetings but that is not the same as being a member.
All members of PCCs and synods are "full" members with voting and speaking rights.
Please can you tell me if PCC members who have served their full 3 year term have to take a certain amount of time off before being eligible for re-election? Thanks.
There is no restriction on the re-election of deanery synod members.
By default there is no restriction for the "ordinary" elected members of the PCC. But in this case the annual meeting can set a limit on how long a person can serve continuously and on how long they then have to wait before they become eligible once more for election.
If I have understood the rule correctly the limit only applies to service after the annual meeting which votes to set the limit.
Please can you help? The churchwarden at the AGM thought that nobody else wanted to stand for election. At the AGM one of the current PCC had put her name forward without telling the warden. The warden duly stepped down without a vote. However she ( the outgoing warden )had not been proposed/seconded for the PCC prior to the AGM meeting and is now not a member. Should she have been given the option to stand whether she was proposed prior to the meeting or not?
Nominations for churchwarden have to be in writing and received by the minister before the meeting held to elect churchwardens. [Churchwardens Measure 2001 Section 4(3)]
Nominations for representatives of the laity on the PCC and the deanery synod can be made before the annual parochial church meeting (in which case they must be in writing) or at the meeting. [Church Representation Rule 11(2)] So nominations should have been invited from the floor, giving your retiring warden the opportunity to stand for election to the PCC.
Thank you, Peter
I'd be grateful for help with a further query. Our deanery synod reps are due to be elected at this year's ACM. What is the status of deanery synod members between the last meeting of the previous synod and the first meeting of the next, which I understand is in June? Could the person, if co-opted in the previous synod, attend the first meeting of the new PCC, which is on 12th May, with full speaking and voting rights?
Membership of the new deanery synod runs from 1 June 2008 to 31 May 2011. Membership of the current synod continues until 31 May 2008 even if there are are no more meetings. So anybody who was a member of the old synod, whether elected or co-opted, remains a member of their PCC until 31 May 2008.
But those elected to the deanery synod become members of their PCC immediately. So if you have a PCC meeting between your APCM and the end of May then both old and new deanery synod members must be invited.
thank you for you inexhaustible flow of useful information; long may it continue.
We are in a vacancy situation and have a NSM assisting but not licensed to us. We have suggested that the PCC revisit the matter of having 8am BCP communion and 9.30am Matins on the same Sunday since the services appeal to the same people.
Our NSM has guided the Wardens to inactivity on the grounds that no changes should be made in an interregnum. Since we are not in one, I feel that it is the decision of the PCC to move on this, especially as there is no term placed on the vacancy other than that it will not be less than a year. Are we on firm ground if we do this?
At a recent Annual Meeting, there were 9 candidates for 8 vacancies on the District Church Council so a ballot was held. A friend had his votes disqualified because he had only voted for 4 people and not the full 8. The scrutineers were surely wrong to do this as there is no such requirement in the Church Representation Rules?
I don't think the reason for your vacancy is particularly relevant. The reason normally given for not making significant changes is that when you do have a permanent parish priest you and/or he/she will probably want to reconsider what you have done. It is not a good idea to pre-empt things before the new person arrives. This is particularly so if you are going to end up with fewer clergy than churches and they cannot all have services at the same time.
However I am not aware of any rule that absolutely forbids changes. Personally I would have thought that the circumstances you describe would justify changes to service times. You will need to accept that they are only temporary until your pastoral re-organisation is complete and all the parishes involved will have to consider service times.
Is it possible to discuss this with your rural/area dean?
I agree with your interpretation of the Rules. Rule 11(6) says that electors have as many votes as there are seats to be filled, but nowhere is there a requirement on electors to use all their votes.
Thanks for your confirmation. It seemed a very odd reason for disqualification. In voting for candidates in other organisations I frequently use less that my full votes - indeed it is a recognised way of "tactical voting".
I don't know whether you can help me on this, but, could you let me know the actual dates that incorporate Rogationtide. Being a rural parish, we held our Rogation Sunday service on the 21 April. Some members of our PCC have complained that this is too early. Please can you let me know.
I do not know whether you can answer this question but, from which date can Rogationtide be celebrated. We are a rural parish and celebrated this on the 21 April. Some members of our PCC are complaining that this was too early.
The Book of Common Prayer gives the Rogation Days as the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the Ascension. In 2008 that's 28, 29 and 30 April. Although not in the BCP Rogation Sunday will be the Sunday before, ie 27 April. That's the 5th Sunday AFTER Easter in the BCP calendar or the 6th Sunday OF Easter in the Common Worship calendar.
Last year I was co-opted to the PCC. This year I am up for election. There are members of the church who say I am not eligible, is this true?
Also another member of the church finished her term as the deanery synod rep.this year She was nominated and seconded to stand again and was re-elected at the AGM , there is a move to object to her re-election despite the fact that the AGM agreed it. Can this happen or is it likely that she will be asked to stand down.
Re. casual vacancies on the PCC. I've found CRR rule No. 48(1) which says that the PCC may fill a casual vacancy for a parochial representative elected to the PCC "by the election by the parochial church council of a person qualified to be so elected".
There doesn't appear to be anything laying down how this is done (Rule 11 does not apply), presumably if everyone is agreed on what is to be done we just pass a resolution to elect that person to fill the casual vacancy.
(The background is that we had one more candidate than PCC posts to be filled at the APCM, however one of the newly elected Deanery Synod members is also an elected PCC member with a couple of years left to serve, she was not present at the APCM but it is possible she may resign from her elected PCC place to allow us to make room for the PCC to elect the unsuccessful PCC candidate. If you see what I mean.)
Being a co-opted member of the PCC does not stop you from elected to the PCC at the Annual Meeting. In any case your co-option automatically expired at the end of the Annual Meeting, although there is nothing to stop PCCs co-opting the same person again year after year.
In the absence of specific instructions on how to carry out an election by the PCC I think you should carry it out as nearly as possible in the same way as elections at the annual meeting. So you put it on the agenda and invite nominations from PCC members. If the number of nominations is equal to or less than the number of vacancies then those nominated are elected. Otherwise you hold an election. As at the annual meeting this can be by show of hands or by ballot paper.
You will notice that the rule does not require the PCC to fill casual vacancies amongst its ordinary members, so the first thing for the PCC to do is to decide whether or not to fill any vacancies.
Can an incumbent chair the APCM and act as teller for the vote count for elections to deanery synod and PCC?
Is it possible to be co-opted onto Deanery Pastoral Committee without being a member of deanery synod?
If he or she is present the minister is required to preside at the annual meeting.
The rules are silent on who counts the votes (unless there is to be postal voting), but they do say that the meeting has the power to determine its own rules of procedure. To me that implies that it is up to the meeting to decide who counts the votes, and nobody is automatically excluded.
If postal votes are allowed the meeting must "appoint a presiding officer who shall not be a candidate in the election", but there is no other restriction.
So far as I am aware deanery pastoral committees have no legal status, so their composition is a local matter. Your diocesan synod has power to set the composition, but if it does not then it is up to deanery.
In my own deanery each parish is asked to provide one representative on the deanery pastoral committee. Several of these reps are not members of the deanery synod.
Please can you help us. We are a church that at present is in an interregnum. We have just held our A.G.M. meeting and both myself and our other Churchwarden are not standing again as wardens. This is due to both of us having personal reasons seperate from the Church which meant that neither of us could could continue in our role as wardens.
Unfortunately nobody else wanted to stand as warden and we have been informed that we might have to carry on as warden whether we like it or not. This has not gone down too well as we have had a very hectic 2 years in which we have dealt with a Sabbatical in our first year followed by an interregnum in our 2nd year as well as over seeing a lot of building work to our church. Can you tell us where we stand as wardens and whether we can be forced to continue in our role, especially as we have not been re-elected as such.
Thank you. Ray.T
Under the Churchwardens Measure 2001 churchwardens stay in office until their successors are admitted by the archdeacon or the 31 July following the annual meeting, whichever is earlier. So you and your colleague will cease to be churchwardens on 31 July 2008.
You can resign by giving two months notice in writing to the bishop. The bishop cannot refuse your resignation. If you want to resign with less than two month's notice you require the bishop's agreement.
It used to be the case that churchwardens had to stay in office indefinitely if no successors were elected and could not resign, but the 2001 Measure changed this.
At the ACPM someone who still has a year to run as an elected PCC member is elected to Deanery Synod. Ought the decision be taken at the meeting whether or not the elected place should be given up? If the decision is taken later does the vacant PCC place go to the person with the most votes who was not elected at the ACPM?
It is for the person who has been elected to the deanery synod to decide whether or not to resign their ordinary elected position on the PCC. No one else can make this decision. There is nothing in the rules to stop somebody being on the PCC in two (or more) capacities.
If the person does resign this leaves a casual vacancy on the PCC. Unless a casual vacancy arises less than two months before the next APCM then the PCC may (but does not have to) elect someone to fill the vacancy. The PCC can elect anyone eligible to be elected to the PCC.
This is a wonderfully informative site. On 30/03/08, Richard asked the question concerning being a Diocesan synod member and where one therefore stood re: ex-officio posts on PCC and Deanary Synod. I know that Rule 14 (1)f covers the situation concerning the PCC ex-officio post but which rule covers the ex-officio Deanery synod post, please? Many thanks in anticipation.
Subject to the provisions of rule 1(4), the members of the house of laity of a deanery synod shall consist of the following persons, that is to say -
(b) any lay members of the General Synod a diocesan synod or an area synod constituted in accordance with section 17 of the Dioceses Measure 1978 whose names are entered on the roll of any parish in the deanery;
[Rule 1(4) deals with people on more than one electoral roll, who must chose one of these rolls for the above purpose.]
Rule 24(2)(c) has the corresponding provision for the clergy.
Can you please tell me if there is any rule governing how long before the next meeting the minutes of the previous meeting should be with the PCC members. Our meetings are held every other month and the publication of the minutes has been getting later and later; so much so that this month they will not be available until the meeting itself. I feel that two months is a long time to verify accurately what transpired at the last meeting.
The Church Representation Rules have an Appendix II of "General Provisions relating to PCCs". Section 12 of this is about the minutes. This does say that "Minutes of meetings of the council shall be available to all members of the Council." but it does not say when. So whilst the lateness of your minutes is unsatisfactory (to say the least), I don't think it actually breaks any rules.
Thanks for that.
In our Benefice we have 3 churches and 3 PCCs.
Apart from the rector there is one retired priest with PTO for the benefice who lives in our parish.
We have a Deacon who lives in one of the other 2 parishes.
And we have 2 Lay Readers who also live in one of the other 2 parishes.
All these people are members of our PCC.
Which of these people are co-opted, who is ex-officio and who has voting rights?
I cannot fully answer your question as part of the answer depends on decisions made locally. I am also assuming that your parish is not part of a team ministry.
Your rector is a member of your PCC since (I assume) he/she is "beneficed in or licensed to the parish".
If the deacon is licensed to your parish then he/she is also a member of the PCC.
Having PTO does not make a priest an ex officio member of the PCC.
It is up to the annual meeting to decide which, if any, of the readers licensed to your parish are ex officio members of the PCC. Such readers must be on your electoral roll.
The PCC can co-opt clerks in holy orders and actual lay communicants. The maximum number of co-opted members is one-third of the "ordinary" elected members of the PCC, or two, whichever is greater.
Co-opted and ex officio members are members of the PCC with the same rights as any elected member. There is no such thing as a PCC member without voting rights. You may, though, have non-members "in attendance". For example in some parishes the PCC secretary is not a member of the PCC but obviously attends the meetings.
Thank you very much for your reply. Can I ask a further question please?
The question arose because the clerks in holy order and the lay readers are not elected members of the PCC. During one year we called the retired priest and deacon ex-officio and the readers co-opted, but then got into difficulties when we needed to co-opt another person onto the PCC because we are only allowed 2 co-options.
Re voting rights: the lay readers and the deacon are also members of their own parish PCCs. Does this then mean they can vote on several PCCs or only on the one for their own parish?
There is nothing to stop a person being a member of more than one PCC. As I wrote before, if you are a member you have voting rights.
The nearest thing to a restriction applies to a person who is on more than one electoral roll. Such a person must choose one of these rolls for the purpose of eligibility for election to deanery, diocesan and general synods and for ex officio membership of PCC and deanery synod if elected.
But if you are a lay person on the electoral roll of more than one parish you are eligible to be elected as an ordinary member or co-opted to all of their PCCs.
Similarly clergy are on the PCCs of all the parishes to which they are licensed, and can be co-opted to as many PCCs as want them.
many thanks, your help is much appreciated!
.... one last query....
Clerks in Holy Orders cannot be on the electoral roll.
Can they still be voting members on their PCCs? We thought that's where the restriction stems from.
If the clerks in holy orders are licensed to the parish or co-opted to the PCC then they are members of the PCC. Like all PCC members they have the right to vote.
thank you SO much for all your help!!
I wonder if you can help. Under the Church Representation Rules 2006, I have been lead to believe that full details of the Church membership must be displayed in the Church itself.
Our PCC has chosen to display more than just names, full names and home addresses are displayed for public view. This has been done without permission of the parishoners. Is this correct under the rules? in the past only names needed to be listed and with due deference to the parishoners choice of display (i.e. not the full name including middle names).
I hope you can clear the air on this one for us.
I have had to take advice on this, and what follows reflects this advice and my own views.
The rules only ever refer to "names on the roll". The application form has the address on it in order to verify whether or not the applicant lives in the parish. The statutory display before the annual meeting (and the notifications of new members from time to time) should contain the full name and address, because this is the verification stage that the records are correct and that the members shown are entitled to be members. For such verification purposes, the entry displayed should match the application form.
If the roll is customarily available [it has to be available for "bona-fide" enquirers] then as the Rules only mention "names", names should be sufficient. More detailed information is *available* and can be made available if the enquiry requires it. Electoral Rolls are a statutory register and exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act, but good practice would indicate that only the minimum disclosure sufficient for the purpose at hand should be made. In most cases this would be just the name and might not even include any forenames at all, just initials.
Information other than names and addresses is not required to join the roll. If parishes collect such information they should ensure that they follow the Data Protection Act in collecting it and making it public.
I know that the number of people who can be co-opted onto the PCC is one fifth of the ordinary members or two whichever is the greater. With twelve ordinary members can we co-opt two or three?
If a retired clergyman, resident in the parish takes some services in the parish church is he a member of the PCC or does he have to be co-opted?
If too many people are co-opted to the PCC does this invalidate any decisions taken whilst the extra members attended meetings?
The rule says "not exceeding in number one-fifth" so if you have 12 ordinary members then this is not exceeding 2.4. 3 is more than 2.4 so I take this to mean that you can co-opt at most two members.
Clergy have to be beneficed or licensed to the parish to be automatically on the PCC. This does not include clergy with permission to officiate, so your retired clergyman is only on the PCC if you co-opt him. Co-opted clergy do not have to reside in the parish.
Paragraph 17 in Appendix II to the rules states "No proceedings of the council shall be invalidated by any vacancy in the membership of the council or by any defect in the qualification or election of any member thereof". I understand that to include the case where you have too many co-opted members.
Thank you so much
Dear Peter, thank you for your thoughts and the time spent on my query. It has helped. Thank you. Rebecca
Our vicar exercises strict control at our PCC meetings and does not always allow votes to be taken. Can members insist on conducting a vote on any relevant issue.We submit items for discussion on the agenda bu do not get a copy of it till the meeting. Should this be provided 7days prior to the meeting and published in church/
You need to refer to Appendix II to the Church Representation Rules.
The time and place of each PCC meeting must be published in church at least 10 days before the meeting. [para 4(a)]
The PCC secretary is required to send an agenda to each member at least seven days before the meeting. There is no requirement to publish the agenda in church. [para 4(b)]
Items not on the agenda can only considered if three-quarters of the members present agree. [para 6]
The business of the council shall be decided by a majority of the members present and voting thereon. [para 10] So I do not see how your vicar can refuse a vote.
Emergency PCC meetings can be called at three days notice, but only business specified in the notice convening the meeting can be considered. [para 8]
A while ago I asked you about voting members on the PCC. Your reply included this sentence:
"But if you are a lay person on the electoral roll of more than one parish you are eligible to be elected as an ordinary member or co-opted to all of their PCCs."
Could you possibly substantiate that, as our Churchwarden has only been able to verify the following:
"Rule 1 Paragraph (4) of Church representation Rules states:-
A person shall be entitled to have his name on the roll of each of any number of parishes if he is entitled by virtue of paragraphs (2) and (3) of this rule to have his name entered on each roll; but a person whose name is entered on the roll of each of two or more parishes must choose one of these parishes for the purpose of the provisions of these rules which prescribe the qualifications for election to a deanery synod, a diocesan synod or the General Synod or FOR MEMBERSHIP OF A PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL under rule 14(1)(f) or of a deanery synod under rule 24(6)(b).
It is important to distinguish between election as an ordinary member of a PCC and election to a deanery synod (and the ex officio PCC membership that follows). The rule that you quote refers to only the second of these.
You need to read it together with Rule 14(1)(f) which states that "all persons whose names are on the roll of the parish and who are lay members of any deanery synod, diocesan synod or the General Synod" are members of the PCC. This is the rule that says deanery synod members are also ex officio members of their PCC.
Taken together with rule 1(4), which you quote, this says that a person on the electoral roll of two (or more) parishes wanting to stand for election to a deanery synod must choose one of these parishes for this purpose. He/she cannot then stand in any of the other parishes. If elected he/she is then an ex officio member of the PCC of the parish that elected him/her to a deanery synod.
Similar provisions apply to elections to diocesan synod and the General Synod.
Elsewhere in the rules are the qualifications for election as an ordinary member of the PCC (which include being on the electoral roll of the parish). The requirement to choose one parish if one is on the roll of several does not apply in this case. Since what is not forbidden is allowed this means that one can be elected to the PCC of each parish.
I understand that a person cannot be a churchwarden for longer than six continuous years. Could you let me know how long a person has to wait before they can be re-elected again.
I find your site very interesting. We have been to an oral hearing for permission for a Judicial Review on 7 August 2008, which was refused. The Church Commissioners asked for costs of £18,000. The judge asked if they really intended to ask a parish church for costs. I am told that the CCs nodded their heads vigorously. £2,000 costs were awarded. The new Incumbent claims he has chairmanship of our PCC by right though he is not a member nor does he live in the parish - though as a result of the merger we challenged without sucess he is the incumbent a larger combined benefice. I asked for the authority for his claim and he refers to 14.1 a of the Parochial Church Meetings and Council Measure 1956 (with ammendments) all Clerks in Holy Orders in a Benifice are members of each parish PCC, so are Readers.
I have not been able to find such a reference. Can anybody assist?
The reference is to the Church Representation Rules which are Schedule 3 to the Synodical Government Measure 1969 (although they have been amended many times since then). The latest edition of the Rules is dated 2006 and is published by Church House Publishing.
Rule 14(1)(a) specifies that "all clerks in Holy Orders beneficed in or licensed to the parish" are members of the PCC of the parish. There is no residence qualification attached to this so the incumbent of a parish is a member of the PCC of that parish regardless of where he/she lives.
Appendix II of the Rules, paragraph 1(a) says that the minister of the parish shall be chairman of the PCC. "Minister" is defined in rule 54, and if the parish has an incumbent then he/she is the minister.
As far as I can see this means that your incumbent is correct to say that he is a member and the chair of your PCC.
Where he is wrong is to say that readers are automatically members of the PCC. Rule 14(1)(e) says that "such, if any, of the readers who are licensed to that parish or licensed to an area which includes that parish and whose name are on the roll of the parish as the annual meeting may determine" are members of the PCC.
In addition, there is nothing to stop any reader standing for election to any PCC for which he has the necessary qualifications.
I would like to know who is responsible for dictating which hymns are sung on sunday mornings and also which hymn book we should use. We have two different hymn books and it would appear that certain members of the congregation prefer one type of hymn book while the priest, on most sundays, uses the other type. This only seems a small ie:stupid query, but, would really like some guidance on this - or where to look if you cannot help me.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your reply to my questions.
St Andrew’s PCC, challenging legality of a scheme was refused a review. On Monday 8 September the inauguration of it is to be ‘celebrated’ in the very church (not the largest) which persistently challenged its legality, St Andrew's Church Owslebury. That is without consulting the PCC, provisionally agreed by wardens some time ago who abstained from voting against the merger, preferring neutrality, and, fearing the frequent threats of costs, made by the Diocese, and Church Commissioners.
If a PCC consists, as it does, of members appointed at the last APCM - including the wardens - as volunteers, who unanimously voted - including the wardens - to proceed with the application for Judicial Review oral hearing on 6 August 2008, how can it be possible, in what I believe is still a democratic society, for the Incumbent both to insist on membership of a PCC, in a parish, he does not live in, claiming to be the chairman of it as his right?
My reading of the rules makes me believe the minister only chairs the APCM not the PCC. How can a PCC look after its parish, if it disputes the legality of the merger, and the incumbent that goes with it? The PCC voted not to continue resisting, lacking the wherewithal, not accepting the legality of the merger.
Does the incumbent now have the right to remove perceived 'troublemakers' (of which I would be one)? If so for whose benefit would that be?
With no independent, impartial, hearing of complaints of 96 parishioners and three PCC s that objected to the so called ‘pastoral scheme’ in a court or tribunal established by law the basic human right they are entitled to and have been denied, now to be forced on these parishes about to be ‘celebrated’ in our parish church by those who abused their positions and Pastoral Measures to achieve this disgraceful unsatisfactory situation. How can the Church of England and Church Commissioners believe such blatant abuses of power and process serves their interests or those of rural parishes such as ours?
Is there any other right of redress open to severely wronged parishes and parishioners or is the pattern for the future of the church, illegally appointed Incumbents taking command of PCC s then suffocating any potential resistance to abuse of power by Bishops?
I think your question is largely answered by this extract from the Canons.
B 20 Of the musicians and music of the Church
2. Where there is an organist, choirmaster or director of music the minister shall pay due heed to his advice and assistance in the choosing of chants, hymns, anthems, and other settings, and in the ordering of the music of the church; but at all times the final responsibility and decision in these matters rests with the minister.
3. It is the duty of the minister to ensure that only such chants, hymns, anthems, and other settings are chosen as are appropriate, both the words and the music, to the solemn act of worship and prayer in the House of God as well as to the congregation assembled for that purpose; and to banish all irreverence in the practice and in the performance of the same.
This does not appear to restrict the minister's choice of hymn book. In practice he/she can only use one that is actually available in church and cannot force the PCC to buy another one.
I have already explained the rules regarding an incumbent's membership and chairing of the PCC.
So far as I am aware an incumbent has no right to remove anybody from the PCC, although he/she has the right in certain circumstances to choose one of the churchwardens at the annual meeting.
I am not a lawyer and have no experience of judicial reviews so I cannot comment on the rest of your remarks.
Hello Peter and thanks for your comments in June.
I raised a question about agenda distribution and still have concerns. Our Secretary issues the agenda first to the incumbent for comment and he then changes the subject put forward for discussion and usually issues a new agenda as we arrive at the meeting. He moves items about on the agenda before and during the meeting and sometimes closes the meeting before they come up. There is no " Matters Arising " on the agenda which allows him to bury topics previously raised. Am I right in thinking that the secretary should issue the agenda to all the members simultaneously and the chairman conduct the business strictly in line with the order of the agenda , without alteration.
Many thanks in anticipation of your answer.
The contents of the agenda are governed by this paragraph from Appendix II of the Rules:
4 (b) Not less than seven days before the meeting a notice thereof specifying the time and place of the meeting signed by or on behalf of the secretary shall be posted or delivered to every member of the council or, if the member has authorized the use of an electronic mail address, to that address. Such notice shall contain the agenda of the meeting including any motion or other business proposed by any member of the council of which notice has been received by the secretary...
I cannot see anything that requires matters arising, but the above rule allows any member to require such an item to be included in the agenda. Personally I cannot see any problem with the secretary asking the incumbent for agenda items, provided that every other member has the opportunity to submit items before the agenda is issued.
The order of business is governed by this paragraph:
7. The business of a meeting of the council shall be transacted in the order set forth in the agenda unless the council by resolution otherwise determine.
There is no provision for a new agenda to be issued less than seven days before the meeting, although para 7 allows the meeting to rearrange the agenda. Business not on the agenda cannot be transacted unless three-quarters of the members present agree (para 6).
The meeting can vote for an adjournment (para 13) but the only way I can see for a matter on the agenda not to be considered is for the meeting itself to vote to end the discussion.
I wonder if you could please advise on the following. As I understand it ....a person is eligible to become a Member of a P.CC. is he/she fulfils the criteria for having their name entereed on the Electoral Roll of that Parish. I cannot find anywhere which says a person has to have been Confirmed before being elected onto the P.C.C. other than Churchwardens. I should be most grateful if you could help with this query. Many thanks. Margaret Gornall
Rule 10(1)(b) requires a PCC member to be an "actual communicant". This term is defined in rule 54(1):
"actual communicant" means a person who has received communion according to the use of the Church of England or of a Church in communion with the Church of England at least three times during the twelve months preceding the date of his election or appointment being a person whose name is on the roll of a parish and is either—
(a) confirmed or ready and desirous of being confirmed; or
(b) receiving the Holy Communion in accordance with the provisions of Canon B 15A paragraph 1(b)
So far as I know the only provisions relevant to (b) are the regulations for admitting children to holy communion before confirmation. Since these refer to children throughout they presumably cease to apply when a person stops being a child, which I would consider to be at age 16.
(a) might allow an unconfirmed person to be elected to the PCC but since they have to be "ready and desirous of being confirmed" this could only happen during the period before the next convenient confirmation service.
Can the PCC regulate its own proceedings within the restrictions placed placed upon it by the Rules ? Would it be lawful to pass a resolution that any member of the PCC who breaches the confidentiality of the PCC be suspended from being a member until the next annual parochial meeting ?
I wonder whether you can clarify for me. On our PCC, a long-standing churchwarden expressed his wish to cease this role at the annual meeting and was not therefore re-elected as CW or as a PCC member. He has subsequently appeared at PCC meeting and is listed as 'Churchwarden Emeritus' in the minutes, a title apparently conferred by the P-I-C, as no decision/discussion at PCC has taken place to this effect. Does such a title exist and does it carry PCC membership/voting rights?
Our Rector is not in very good health and although he has been turning up for services on sundays, there could be a time when he would not be able to take the service.
Is there any provision for churchwardens to take the service and give communion. If you cannot answer this, could you out me in touch with someone who can.
I can see nothing in the Rules that allows a PCC to suspend any of its members.
The General Provisions relating to PCCs in Appendix II can be varied with the consent of the diocesan synod (see Rule 15). But membership matters are dealt with in the main body of the rules and there is no provision to vary these.
"Churchwarden Emeritus" is a purely honorific title and has no legal standing. The only way that your former churchwarden can now be a PCC member is if the PCC votes to co-opt him/her. Co-opted membership cannot be given by an individual member of the PCC.
This is covered by the Canons. The churchwardens may not give communion. They may read morning or evening prayer.
Your churchwardens should speak to the area/rural dean. He/she should be able to offer your rector support and give advice on providing church services if your rector becomes unable to take them himself.
We have an ongoing issue regarding new servers. The PCC has stated in their meetings that any new servers that we have, must be fully trained, licensed and that they must robe. We have had one new person used as a server against the wishes of the PCC. The incumbent has stated that he is in charge and not the PCC. Is this correct?
I posted a question on your website on the 23 October, bur so far have received no reply. If there is a problem, could you please let me know.
I didn't answer because I don't know the answer. Your question certainly has nothing to do with the Church Representation Rules.
I cannot find any reference to servers in the Canons.
I suspect that the choice of servers comes under the incumbent's responsibility for the conduct of divine service in the parish, and that your incumbent is correct in what he says.
But I could be wrong.
Could you please let me know if, during an interregnum and we hold our APCM, are we still required to hold elections for PCC and Churchwardens or do the existing ones stay until a new incumbent has been installed.
You must hold an APCM as usual even if you are in an interregnum. At the APCM you conduct all the usual business including the elections to the PCC.
Churchwardens are actually elected at a separate meeting, although this is generally held immediately before the APCM. Again, this meeting must be held and churchwardens elected during an interregnum.
Peter, please you clarify something for me about PCC membership:
Would I be right in saying that an employee cannot be an elected member of a PCC but can be ex-officio (with all the normal rights of a full member)?
Could an employee be an elected member of Deanery Synod (and therefore a PCC member)?....
First, all PCC members, whether elected, co-opted or ex officio, are charity trustees and what follows applies to them all.
Secondly, there is a booklet "Trusteeship: An Introduction for PCC Members" produced jointly by The Archbishops’ Council and the Charity Commission. You can download it from here:
On page 7 this states "PCC members cannot be employed by the PCC, unless specific authority has been granted by the Charity Commission." I think this answers your question.
I can understand that under some circumstances this is entirely wise but I am not sure it is universally wise. I followed by nose to the Charity Commission web site and looked here:
On page 53 it seems to readily concede that there are circumstances where an employee can be appointed a Trustee - and recommends certain precautions to avoid conflict of interest....
Would you agree, this looks to modify the general blanket ban on employees on PCCs?....
I agree that the document you quote does open the possibility that there may be circumstances in which the CC would not challenge the employment of a trustee that it had not specifically authorised. But are there any circumstances where a PCC could show that this was "clearly in the interests of the charity" (see page 55 in the document you quote)?
But I am not a lawyer and you would need to consult one to obtain a more reliable opinion.
Two Parishes have a single priest in charge. He has decided to combine a service from each of the parishes into one single service. This has been discussed in both the parish's PCC but no formal vote has been taken in either parish to approve this change.
The Priest in charge originally said in writing that it would be a decision for the PCC to take whether this combination should take place but now it seems he has taken a unilateral decision without the formal backing of either of the PCCs and the combined service is being put in place.
Both PCCs involved are split 50/50 whether this is what they want but as no resolution has been proposed, seconded and voted on it is not a matter of record what the precise position is as far as the wishes of the PCCs are concerned.
It would appear that the priest in charge is acting ultra vires but is he? Is this a decision that the PCCs should be making as elected representatives of the two congregations involved or not?
This is covered by the Canons rather than the Church Representation Rules.
I am going to assume that you are referring to one of the three "statutory" Sunday services.
Canon B11 starts: "1. Morning and Evening Prayer shall be said or sung in every parish church at least on all Sundays and other principal Feast Days, and also on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday."
Canon B14 starts: "1. The Holy Communion shall be celebrated in every parish church at least on all Sundays and principal Feast Days, and on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday."
But Canon B14A provides as follows:
1. The reading of Morning and Evening Prayer in any parish church as required by Canon B 11 or the celebration of the Holy Communion in any parish church as required by Canon B 14 may be dispensed with as follows:
(a) on an occasional basis, as authorized by the minister and the parochial church council acting jointly;
(b) on a regular basis, as authorized by the bishop on the request of the minister and the parochial church council acting jointly.
In exercising the powers under this paragraph the minister and the parochial church council or the bishop as the case may be must be satisfied that there is good reason for doing so and shall –
(i) have regard to the frequency of services of Morning and Evening Prayer or the celebration of the Holy Communion (as the case may be) in other parish churches or places of worship in the benefice; and
(ii) ensure that no church ceases altogether to be used for public worship.
2. Where there is more than one parish church or place of worship in a benefice or where a minister holds benefices in plurality with more than one parish church or place of worship the minister and the parochial church council acting jointly shall make proposals to the bishop as to what services of Morning and Evening Prayer or the celebration of the Holy Communion (as the case may be) are to be held in each of the parish churches or places of worship and if the bishop is satisfied with the proposals he shall authorize them accordingly. In default of the minister and parochial church council making satisfactory proposals, the bishop shall make such direction as he considers appropriate. In exercising the powers under this paragraph the bishop shall ensure that no church ceases altogether to be used for public worship.
You will see that whether your change is occasional or regular the minister and PCC must act jointly. In such circumstances the PCC acts by passing a resolution in favour. Since many PCCs meetings are conducted fairly informally this might take the form of the chair saying "Everybody agreed then?" and nobody objecting.
If your service is not one of the three statutory ones, then the P-i-C has discretion to hold such a service without reference to the PCC (although it might be wise to seek their agreement).
You can find the full text of the Canons here.
I have just found your very helpful site.
The parish of which I am a churchwarden is required to register with the charity commission and we understand that all PCC members will become trustees and are required to submit their details to the Charity Commission. One of our deanery synod representatives is also churchwarden of a parish in another diocese. He is unwilling to take on the legal responsibilities of both parishes. If he does not choose to register, is he removing himself from the PCC and, if so, can he continue to be our deanery representative?
My first comment is that PCCs are already charities (and have been for a very long time). So all PCC members are already charity trustees. This comes automatically with membership of the PCC. It is impossible to be a PCC member without being a charity trustee.
What is changing is that until now PCCs were exempt from registering with the Charity Commission. This has changed and, starting with the largest (as measured by income and/or expenditure) PCCs will all have to register in the next few years.
I have a question about revision of the electoral roll. I have read the notes in the Church Representation Rules. I understand that the revision must be completed not less than 15 days or more than 28 days before the APCM so I can work out a date for completion of the revision. I also understand that the notice of revision must be displayed for not less than 14 days before the commencement of the revision. What I don't understand is when the revision is supposed to commence and how long the revision is supposed to take. Is there another 14 day period here, or is it just the day or few days it takes the ER officer to update the list? Thanks.
I've looked at the rules and I cannot see anywhere that specifies how long the revision itself should take. So provided all the other conditions are met it looks as if the ER officer can decide.
Two quite independent queries:
1. From my reading of the Church Representation rules, it seems fine to co-opt an individual to the PCC and then to appoint them as PCC Secretary (so unelected member). Have I read that right?
2. Also from my reading of the CR rules, you can only have 2 deputy church wardens? This would mean you have 2 church wardens and 2 deputies - 4 ex-officio members which means they're separately elected and do not need to have "normal" elected member places on the PCC?
Thanks for your help.
You have hinted earlier, I think, that you have little experience of Districts but here goes - you may be able to help.
From being a Parish in our own right we have just become one of a number of Districts in a larger Parish. As we prepare for this year's annual meetings I'm struggling to understand the revised procedure we should follow. In the past we have elected Churchwardens at a Meeting of Parishioners followed by the PCC, etc. at the APCM. The Scheme we are following states that 'the ADCM shall be free to make a recommendation to be submitted to the meeting of parishioners in accordance with the Churchwardens Measure 2001 as to the persons to be chosen as Churchwardens of the parish church situate in the District, although the Churchwardens will be Churchwardens of the whole parish.' Does that mean we no longer hold a meeting of parishoners 'locally' and there is just the need for a combined Meeting of Parishoners from all districts at which the recommendations are declared?
1) The PCC secretary does not have to be a member of the PCC.
The PCC can either appoint one of its members or "some other fit person" to be the secretary. In the latter case the secretary does not thereby become a PCC member. The PCC could (but does not have to) decide to co-opt such a secretary to the council, either before or after appointing them as secretary.
[See Appendix II to the Rules, para 1(d)(i).]
2) Are you referring to Rule 18(4)? This only applies to parishes with more than one place of worship. As you say in such parishes a scheme can allow for one or two deputy churchwardens and can make them ex officio members of the PCC.
Can you point me in the right direction to find out responsibilities, if any, that the parish council has for the churchyard in terms of upkeep.
I have no direct experience of Districts, so I'm not in a position to offer you any advice. In any case what you have to do is governed by the Churchwardens Measure, the Church Representation Rules and the particular scheme in your parish. I can understand the difficulty you are having in trying to understand what it all means.
All I can suggest is that you take advice from your Area/Rural Dean, Archdeacon or Diocesan Registrar.
Do you mean Parochial Church Council (the church body) or Parish Council (the lowest level of local government in some areas)?
So far as I know the PCC is responsible for the upkeep of an open (for burials) graveyard. If the graveyard is closed responsibility for its upkeep can be passed to the local council.
Can I suggest that you look at the Churchcare website.
You may find some guidance on your diocesan website. My own diocese of Liverpool has some here.
We are in interregnum and an item has just appeared in our Parish magazine to the effect that the DCC has decided to cancel all future celebrations of Evensong except on one Sunday each month. No announcements have been made and no explanation has been given and this decision did not receive the backing of the clergy.
With the exception of the clergy no member of the DCC has as far as I am aware, ever attended Evensong and regular attendees at this service have to accept this decision without any say in the matter. The other 2 churches in our parish do not have evensong.
I understand that this decision has not been discussed at a PCC meeting. Our last Rector said he considered it important for Evensong to be continued in this parish.
Any comments on this would be appreciated, especially with the way in which the decision has been taken. thank you, Sarah
A friend has been dismissed from his employment as organist during an interregnum, the reason quoted being " an irreconcilable breakdown in your relationship with the DCC. The DCC, with the full support of the PCC and the Parish Wardens, have taken this decision, as is their right in the absence of a Rector in post"
An organist is appointed jointly by the Minister and the PCC. Is it correct that he can be dismissed without a Minister's consent during an Interregnum?
My understanding of the canons is that decisions on services are to be made by the minister and PCC (not DCC), and possibly the bishop. See my quotation from Canon B14A on 17 January 2009 above.
In any case it seems a quite unnecessary decision. From what you say I assume that although you have one vacancy in your team there are other clergy available to Evensong.
As you indicate the appointment and dismissal of an organist is the responsibility of "the minister with the agreement of the parochial church council." [Canon B20]
But I cannot find out what happens if there is no minister. Is his/her place taken by the churchwardens, the vice-chair of the PCC, the area dean, the archdeacon, the bishop or by nobody? I don't know, sorry.
It is possible that you will find some relevant information on the websites of the Royal School of Church Music and the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
We have two wardens who are finishing this year what happens if we have no one who stands for office.We also have a treasurer also standing down .Any advice or help please .PCC Secretary
1) If you fail to elect a new churchwarden at the annual meeting then the retiring warden remains in office until 31 July. A book* that I have just bought says of the situation when no wardens can be found: "In law this problem is not addressed". The only advice in the book is to try every possible means to ensure that the situation does not arise. It also suggests that the minister (and any continuing churchwarden) sign off the Terrier and Inventory to protect the outgoing warden(s).
2) If the PCC cannot appoint a treasurer from its own members, then it may appoint a non-member. If no treasurer is appointed then the task must be undertaken by the churchwardens - which brings us back to your first question.
Do remember that it is often possible to share the work of a churchwarden or treasurer between more than one person. For example you might have an assistant treasurer who pays the bills and does the day-to-day bookkeeping whilst the treasurer reports to the PCC, prepares a draft budget and deals with the annual accounts. You might find it easier to find two people willing to do half a job each than one person to do it all.
* Your Church and the Law by David Parrott (Canterbury Press 2008) ISBN 978-1-853110927-9
Many thanks for your comments re an organist's dismissal during an interregnum.
A very tricky area - it has been suggested to my friend by someone well- versed in church law that it is only the Archdeacon who has the authority to dismiss. ( In exceptional circumstances he/she can dispense with the agreement of the PCC when an incumbent is in post so presumably the situation in an interregnum is an extension of that authority).
Our vicar has had to take early retirement on the grounds of ill health. Previously, when we have gone into an interregnum, we have had to wait six months before we could start to look for another vicar. However, since our vicar is taking retirement, do these rules still apply.
Nobody seems to realise that Rule 2(1)is badly drafted. It says "Notice of the intended revision shall be affixed... and remain so affixed for a period of fourteen days before the commencement of the revision."
This means that the revision cannot start until the fourteen days elapses. To remove this 14-day thumb-twiddling period, it should read "shall be affixed...before the commencement of the revision and remain so affixed for a period of 14 days".
There is no such rule. Those responsible for making appointments, ie the patron and/or bishop, might decide to proceed slowly, but that is up to them.
If the patron fails to come up with a candidate to present to the bishop within nine months, then the right of presentation passes to the archbishop of the province.
The PCC has to do various things within a specified time of being officially notified of the vacancy, or lose the right to do so. For example the PCC meeting to elect the two representatives, approve the parish profile, consider resolutions A and B etc must be held within four weeks of the PCC secretary being officially notified of the vacancy. This time limit applies regardless of how quickly or slowly others may be acting.
The 14 days is not a thumb-twiddling period. The time is needed to allow people to apply to join the roll before it's revised.
This is a dialogue of the deaf. Rule 2(1) says the notice must be affixed for 14 days before the commencement of the revision. Appendix 1 section 2 gives the dates when the revision commences and will end, so that people can apply between those dates, so that the end date has to be the final date for applications.
Perhaps "commencement of the revision" in Rule 2(1)is intended to mean the commencement of the processing of the applications but in the Appendix it clearly refers to commencement of the application period. You cannot use a term of art with two opposing meanings.
The only way to reconcile the language is to say that the application period cannot commence until 14 days has elapsed from the publication of the notice, a thumb-twiddling period - hence my suggested amendment.
This drafting problem does not affect the preparation of a New Roll, which is therefore a speedier process!
Have you overlooked the fact that people can have their names added to the roll at any time - see rule 1(8). So there is nothing to stop people applying during what you call a "14-day thumb-twiddling period".
As you say the form in the Appendix makes it clear that applications will be accepted until the end of the revision, but nowhere does it say that they cannot be submitted before the start.
I have taken over the position of Electoral Roll Officer. We will be having our APCM at the beginning of April, therefore, could you please let me know whether:
a) members who have come onto the roll in order to get married at our church, are removed after their marriage or stay on until the new revision is done in 2010
b) do I have to publish the electoral roll in church prior to the APCM or wait until the revision in 2010 is done.
a) People stay on the roll until a new roll is prepared unless they cease to be qualified.
So if a non-resident member of the roll ceases to attend public worship for six months without good reason you should remove their name from the roll. I suspect that most electoral roll officers only check this sort of thing when they revise the roll before the APCM (annual parochial church meeting).
b) The roll has to be published in church after the revision and for at least 14 days before the APCM. Since 14 days notice of the revision must be given you need to give the notice of the revision at least a month before the APCM.
Could you let me know how long baptism records have to be kept in church before they are sent to archive.
I've no idea. Try asking your archdeacon or diocesan office.
I became an ex-officio member of a PCC about 2 years ago when i was licensed as a Reader in the benefice but I was not able to attend PCC meetings because these were always arranged for 3.00pm and since I am working it was impossible for me to attend. When I questioned this I was told that it was to suit the other members who were all elderly and retired apart from from one recently elected member who was younger and working, and he was expected to try to arrange his shifts to fit in with the afternoon meetings. He couldn't usually manage this so didn't attend meetings. A few months ago I insisted that meetings should be arranged for a time that enabled me to attend and a 'compromise' of 6.00pm was arranged. I think this still doesn't really suit the other working member.
My concern is that the PCC had effectively become a 'closed shop' which restricted membership to the retired and non-working. Is there any requirement that PCC meetings should be arranged for times that enable all members to attend?
Peter, I have been advised that in my diocese the Diocesan Synod members are also members of the Diocesan Board of Finance, and that the Bishop's Council, (which is also the Standing Committee) is effectively the Board of Directors of the DBoF. This seems to contravene the Diocesan Boards Of Finance Measure 1925; although this measure has been amended I cannot find an amendment that makes members of Synod also members of DBoF. It has been suggested that the Church Representation Rules have had this effect. Can you help? Gordon
This is covered by Appendix II to the Rules.
The rules say that the person convening the meeting shall issue a notice to all the members specifying the time and place of the meeting [paras 2,3,4]. This will normally be the chairman and so far as I can see he or she decides the time. There is an explicit provision for the PCC to decide on where it meets [para 9] but no corresponding provision about when.
You can read the amended Measure here.
The precise composition of the DBF is a matter for the Diocesan Synod. Provided that the conditions of section 1 of the Measure are met there is nothing to stop the Synod making the membership of the DBF the same as the that of the Synod. We did this in my diocese (Liverpool) a few years ago, but other dioceses did it long ago.
The Synod (or is it the DBF, I'm not sure) also decides on the composition of the Board of Directors. Here in Liverpool this is not the same as the Bishop's Council, although I do know that some dioceses, such as yours, have chosen to make them the same.
None of this has anything to do with the Church Representation Rules, except indirectly in the case where the DBF members are specified to be the members of the Diocesan Synod.
Peter, Thanks, what service! The 1925 Measure requires that the majority of the DBF be laymen but this is not neccessarily true of the Synod. What is the position if the House of Bishops and Clergy together form a majority? I understand that members of the DBF (a company limited by guarantee?) are, individually, guarantors. If so, is it the case that members elected or co-opted to synod become guarantors automatically, even if they were unaware of this? Finally, is there anything that controls the composiiton of the standing committee or is the Synod free to consitute it as it sees fit? Gordon
Thank you for the response. I suppose there's an assumption that meetings will be arranged at places and times which would allow the members to attend - an assumption of reasonableness. If, for the sake of argument, a PCC chairman insisted on arranging meetings for times which prevented working members attending, what recourse would they have? Julie
I think that if necessary the lay majority on the DBF can be ensured by making its membership the synod members plus a few extra lay people.
Yes, the DBF is a company limited by guarantee, so the members are liable in the event of the Board's insolvency. But the liability is limited (eg to £1) so I don't think that this is a serious problem. I don't know whether synod members can refuse to be DBF members.
Church Representation Rule 34(1)(k) requires the diocesan synod to make standing orders that, amongst other things, provide for there to be a bishop's council and specify its membership, but I cannot see any restraints on what the membership should be.
I think you are right to say the the rules assume that people are reasonable.
You could raise the matter at your parish's APCM. Although this meeting cannot instruct the minister or PCC it can make the problem public.
Alternatively you could raise a complaint with the area dean, archdeacon or bishop.
Another couple of questions:
1. Churchwardens' Measure 2001 - six year limit.
As I understand it anyone who was elected as a churchwarden in 2002 when the Measure came into effect and who served continuously for the next six years, would not have been eligible for election in 2008. Is this correct?
I'm a member of two churches (it's a united benefice) and in both churches long-standing churchwardens were re-elected in 2008. Both churches recently held parish meetings to pass a resolution that the six-year disqualification rule would not apply on the grounds that there is a shortage of people willing and able to take on the role. I asked whether the churchwardens had been ineligible last year and was told that "it takes a year to take effect" and that therefore they were eligible.
I'm not happy about the timing of these meetings: there was effectively no choice to be made and it felt like an election with only one candidate. It seems that people were aware of the six-year limit and had discussed it at PCC years ago but had not considered it necessary to arrange a parish meeting before the situation became urgent.
I've nominated for the PCC someone who has been attending the church for about 10 months. He's on the electoral roll, but only just. From what I've read in the Representation Rules he may not be eligible for election to the PCC until he's been on the roll for six months. Could you clarify this? If he is ineligible could he be co-opted? The PCC is greatly in need of the fresh outlook he would bring.
You are correct that the six-year limit does not apply to service before 2002. For the rule not to apply in 2008 the necessary resolution must have been passed before the election of churchwardens in that year. This could have been done at the 2007 meeting of parishioners, or at a special meeting anytime before the 2008 meeting.
So I think it is quite in order to have a special meeting of parishioners to pass the resolution that the six-year rule shall not apply, have a short pause and the hold the regular annual meeting of parishioners to elect churchwardens.
I do not think it is feasible to combine these two meetings into one because of the requirement for nominations for churchwarden to be made in writing before the start of the meeting at which the wardens are elected.
So I think your parish is quite in order so far as the 2009 elections are concerned. That does not appear to be true for 2008.
For your second point it is true that a person has to on the electoral rule for the preceding six months to be eligible for election to the PCC. This applies both to deanery synod members and to "ordinary" elected PCC members. It does not apply to those under the age of 18.
The restriction does not apply to co-opted members.
We have just had our APCM and have elected six PCC members due to the fact that we have an electoral roll of under 50. However, a motion was put forward that from next year (2010) we should up our PCC members from six to eight, even though we have less that 50 on the roll. A vote was taken and it was passed.
Unfortunately, we have a couple of members of the PCC who were not in favour and I can see trouble being caused.
The reason why this was put forward was because as a PCC we do not seem to be going anywhere and new blood should be introduced. People who have more forward thinking ideas.
Was the chairman correct in putting this motion forward.
That appears to be in order to me. Whether it was wise is another matter on which I am not qualified to comment.
A question has been raised over a past member of our congregation who moved right away from the area over a year ago.
I have removed this person from the electoral roll, however, the past Electoral Roll officer has informed me that she should remain on the roll until the next revision. She has not attended any public worship at our church during the past six months and I think that I am in my right to remove her.
Another question, again about the electoral roll, is that I put the roll in church 4 weeks before our APCM. However, the past electoral roll officer said that he had not seen it and would I send him a copy of it.
I do not think that individuals should be able to have their own copy of the electoral roll, when it is shown clearly in church. What do you think?
Rule 1(8) requires the ERO to keep the roll constantly up-to-date.
Rule 1(9) provides that a person's name shall be removed form the roll "as the occasion arises" in various circumstances. These circumstances are in effect those in which a person ceases to be qualified.
You say that the person concerned no longer lives in or worships in the parish. He/she is therefore no longer eligible to be on the roll and you were correct to temove his/her name without waiting for the annual revision.
The annual revision simply provides an opportunity to review any additions and removals that have been made during the year and to catch up on any that have been overlooked. (Rule 2(2)).
Rule 2(7) requires you to display the revised roll in church for a period of at least 14 days. It must also be available for inspection at the APCM. (Rule 9(2)). There is no other requirement in the rules to make the roll available for inspection. Nobody has the right to demand a copy and I would advise you not to give out copies.
The daughter church in our parish is now a DCC, the parish church also has a DCC, which I understand is unusual. The daughter church has a treasurer and produces its own accounts. Should the parish church have separate accounts from the PCC and a separate treasurer? In other words should the Common Fund, for example, be paid from the parish church's DCC accounts into the PCC account?
Rule 18(1) permits parishes with more than one church to set up a DCC for any one of these churches. So far as I can see it is permissable for some churches to have a DCC and others not to have one. I don't know what is usual in a case like yours with two churches only one of which is a parish church.
The rules allow the annual meeting a lot of freedom in how its sets up DCCs so I think that the arrangements you describe are lawful (so long as the accounts of the daughter church DCC are consolidated into the PCC accounts). However I would have thought it preferable for either all or none of the DCCs to have their own accounts and treasurer.
Following on from the posting about access to the electoral roll, this is a current hot topic of debate in our church.
Is the Electoral Roll:
a) a confidential document only the ERO, wardens and clergy have access to.
b) a PCC document
c) a document viewable by anyone in the parish on request.
Also, should the required public posting of the revised ER before an APCM include names & addresses or just names?
Shall I have a go at answering Stuart's questions?
The first question is answered by Rule 1(1) of the Church Representation Rules: "The roll shall be available for inspection by bona-fide inquirers." It doesn't say you are to give people copies if they ask, only that they are to be allowed to inspect the roll.
It doesn't define what is a "bona-fide inquirer". I suppose, if the question of whether a particular inquirer is indeed "bona-fide" becomes tricky, you can always invoke Rule 53(1)(a) and ask the Bishop to determine this :-)
Should the roll posted before the APCM include addresses? Rule 2(3) says that what is to be displayed is to be "a copy of the roll as revised", and rule 1(11) says that "The roll shall where practicable contain a record of the address of every person whose name is entered on the roll, but a failure to comply with this requirement shall not prejudice the validity of any entry on the roll."
Quite what is meant by that "where practicable" is not clear to me. If the ERO doesn't have the person's address, how did he determine whether or not to add the person to the roll when the person applied to be enroled?
Thank you Richard. I was beginning to think that apart from the questioners I was the only person reading these comments.
To add to your reply, the electoral roll contains personal information and so the provisions of data protection legislation must be taken into account. One book I have read says that this means that the published roll should contain only names.
I have also heard it said that the addresses should be included but that the addresses of people who have a legitimate reason for keeping them confidential (eg police officers) should be omitted.
But I am not a lawyer so I don't know what is correct.
We are very shortly going to be in an interregnum and this will be my first time as church warden taking us through this. My question is this, some members of the PCC seem to think that the Church of England ruling is that everything has to be confidential, the congregation is not allowed to know of any decisions the PCC and church wardens make. I myself, think that this is slightly old fashioned, and that to a point the congregation should know what is going on.
Would you please let me know if it is the churchs' policy to keep everything confidential or just a ruling made up by some of the older member of the PCC.
Your older members are wrong.
For example paragraph 12 of Appendix II to the Rules (General Provisions relating to PCCs) specifies who may have access to PCC minutes. This includes:
"Other persons whose names are on the church electoral roll may have access to the approved minutes of Council meetings held after the annual parochial church meeting in 1995 except any minutes deemed by the Council to be confidential."
I don't think that a PCC can decide that everything is confidential; there has to be a good reason for each such item. For example personal matters would normally be confidential.
In addition the Annual Report and Accounts is a public document.
So, although there is no requirement to consult the congregation before decisions are made, PCC decisions are, at the very least, available via the minutes.
If only one candidate stands as Churchwarden at the AGM, and one of the council members elected at the AGM is elected to the position of second warden at a Special Meeting two months later, does this create a vacancy on the PCC which must be filled as soon as possible under Rule 48(1)?
There's only a vacancy if that person decides to resign from his or her position as a representative of the laity, in writing to the secretary of the PCC. If they do resign, *then* Rule 48(1) comes into play.
Pleased to be of assistance, within the limitations of my own knowledge of the CRRs etc.
There has got to be a better place to have this sort of discussion than in the comments to a 3+ year old blog post, though.
Short answer to Hector: No.
Richard is correct. If an elected member of the PCC also becomes an ex officio member they retain the elected place unless they explicitly resign. Rule 47 applies.
47. No person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen a member of any body under these rules by the fact that he is also a member ex-officio of that body; and no person shall be deemed to vacate his seat as such an elected or chosen member of any body by reason only of the fact that subsequently to his election or choice he has become a member of that body ex-officio.
The CRR states an a member of PCC can require that the way they voted on a particular resolution be recorded in the minutes.
Does that request have to be made explicitly at the time of the vote or can the member approach the secretary immediately after the meeting to request it?
If only one Church Warden is elected at the APCM is it necessary to call a further APCM to elect a second CW a few weeks later, or can this be done at an ordinary meeting of the PCC?
The PCC has no power to appoint/elect a churchwarden. This must be done at a meeting of parishioners.
So when you have a casual vacancy, for example because a church warden has resigned or you have failed to fill the position at the annual meeting of parishioners, the minister should call a meeting of parishioners for the purposes of filling the vacancy.
We are one parish in a team of 5 parishes. We remain distinct parishes but one benefice.
We are the only parish in the team with income above 100K and are in the middle of the process to register with the charity commission. A query has been raised at our PCC about whom is a trustee? so can you clarify :
In a multi parish benefice does the team rector i.e. the incumbent of the benefice become ex-officio in each parish and hence a trustee of each parish PCC?
Do all the team vicars also become ex-officio and also trustees of every PCC?
you have helped me in the past and I would again welcome your wise counsel.
The charity trustees are the members of the PCC. The members include "all clerks in Holy Orders beneficed in or licensed to the parish". [Rule 14(1)(a)]
Your team rector appears to fall in this category and so is a member of your PCC and a trustee.
The requirement to register with the Charity Commission has not changed the rules about who is a member of the PCC.
Our PCC has to take a vote on whether a member of our church is put forward for consideration for ordination. Views are split and I am trying to discover if we are allowed to hold a secret ballot. Our rural dean says yes, but the rector says no.
Who is right?
Hmmm, secret ballots. There's nothing explictly about this in the CRR, but see Appendix II
"General Provisions Relating to Parochial Church Councils", section 12 "Minutes":
(b) If one-fifth of the members present and voting on any resolution so require, the minutes shall record the names of the members voting for and against that resolution.
(c) Any member of the council shall be entitled to require that the minutes shall contain a record of the manner in which his vote was cast on any resolution.
So I can't *see* anything prohibiting a secret ballot if the PCC are in agreement about doing it that way, but if one fifth of the PCC demur then they can insist on the ballot not being secret.
I may be wrong; I am not a lawyer.
Our church is high anglican. However, the past two priests we have had have tried to bring the church to low anglican. My question is that we may be shortly be having a new priest take over who is high church and likes to use incense. Who has the final say in this? Most of our congregation like incense, however, there are a couple who do not and would not like it used. These people are more Evangelical than high church and think incense should only be used on high days and holidays. Who is correct.
Can you please clarify who is allowed to sign cheques on the PCC bank account? Those with authority at present are : 1 church warden + 1 church warden with deteriorating health; an ex church warden now moved away and in another benefice; a licenced lay pastor. I am PCC sec and acting treasurer while the man himself is on the high seas for 3 months, and I am not sure the right people are signing cheques.
At some point your PCC must have passed a resolution stating who is authorised to sign cheques. Precisely who these people are is up to the PCC, although I would expect the treasurer to be one. It is common for there to be four authorised signatories, of which two have to sign each cheque. They have to be named individuals; it is not possible, for example, to authorise "the vicar, churchwardens, and treasurer".
The bank will have required you to complete a mandate listing the signatories and details of how many must sign cheques etc, and certifying that the PCC has passed a resolution to this effect.
If the wrong people, or too few people, are signing cheques then the bank ought to refuse to pay them.
The only way you can change the list of authorised signatories is to pass a new PCC resolution and then complete a new bank mandate. From what you say you need to do this as soon as possible.
Thank you for your quick reply Peter. The problem is that I'm given to understand the lay pastor should not be a signatory as anyone acknowledged /licensed to a post cannot sign. Also the ex-churchwarden who now lives in another benefice should surely not be a signatory? I wonder whether when Tim, our hastily appointed treasurer (due to illness of the previous treasurer) took over he failed to realise the signatories were not up to date? He, of course, is a signatory. I think our Resolution may need updating so that 4 legitimate people can sign.
I don't think that there is anything to ban a licensed person from being a signatory. Clergy are sometimes signatories.
Obviously it is time that the ex-churchwarden was replaced.
For practical purposes you want to choose signatories who are members of the PCC and are readily available to sign cheques as well as being trustworthy.
Thank you for succinct guidance. I will discuss with Tim (treasurer) when he returns.
We have one member of our congregation who has requested that he receive copies of the PCC minutes to see what the PCC are transacting. He also wishes to receive back copies of the PCC minutes from our APCM to date. Although I understand that minutes are not private documents, there may be some sensitive issues on the minutes. Would it not be better if we posted these on the notice board in church for the whole congregation and not just for one person.
Another issue that has arisen is that this same person has requested he attends PCC meetings as an observer. What is the ruling on this? I do know that if he is allowed to attend the meetings as an observer, it would cause serious problems within the PCC.
Members of the electoral roll may have access to approved minutes of PCC meetings held after the 1995 annual meeting, except for any minutes deemed by the PCC to be confidential. Other people may have access to PCC minutes only in accordance with a specific authorization of the PCC. Details are in Appendix II of the Rules.
Note that the right is to have "access" and not "copies". Your suggestion of posting a copy in church is a good one (although that would require specific PCC authorisation as it would allow non-members of the electoral roll to have access).
Confidential matters should be noted as such at the time and recorded on a separate page so that they can be removed before being made public. Sometimes it is sufficient to record "A confidential matter was discussed."
Non-members do not have the right to attend PCC meetings.
To avoid having to have separate sections of the PCC meetings and to enable all PCC members to speak freely whatever the item under discussion, we publish a summary of the minutes in the church and in our parish magazine.
So far, this has met with nothing but approval.
What a wonderful website! Already answers a lot of my queries - but not quite all. So can I put specifics to you. In April I reached the end of a 3 year period on the PCC. I am still chair of the Fabric Committee and we are about to enter an interregnum. For these two reasons I'd like to be back on. Majority of PCC would also like that.
Now the difficult bit; co-option is said to be impossible as they already co-opted 3 people (which I reckon is 1 too many as they only have 13 elected members!). The irony is for years the APCM has been told we can have only 12 elected members. As there are 230 plus on the E roll clearly this is wrong and we could have 15. (Quite how we finished with 13 I'm not sure.) So 2 of the PCC co-opted people could in fact have been elected, leaving more flexibility.
Qu1. Can these unused elected places be regarded as 'casual vacancies' and filled by majority vote (of the PCC)? Qu2. If 'yes' can I not be considered because of the 3 year rule? Qu3. Could one of the co-opted members resign then fill a casual vacancy, leaving my co-option then possible (maybe). Rather a convoluted way forward perhaps!
Comments would be most appreciated.
PS I've ordered a copy of CRR. The parish one seems to be carefully guarded by the (outgoing) incumbent!
I start with a question for you. Why can you not be re-elected? The rules themselves do not impose any such restriction although they do allow the APCM to pass a resolution to put a limit on the number of years of continuous service (it's rule 17).
It looks to me as if you do have two casual vacancies and the PCC can therefore elect people to fill them. There is nothing to stop the PCC electing co-opted members to fill these vacancies. The PCC could then elect replacement co-opted memebrs.
Can't thank you enough for your speedy response to my comments yesterday. It came in time for a churchwardens' meeting today and where the matter was discussed. Under the chairmanship of the incumbent some considerable elasticity in interpretation of the rules seems to have been applied. Again I would value an uninvolved informed opinion.
First, your question as to why I can't be re-elected. Slight error in what I said yesterday; I've just completed 4 years, not 3 - sorry. 4 years used to be the nominal maximum. At the 2008 APCM a motion was carried to make the normal period 3 years followed by possible re-election for a further 3 (then a year out). It was said to bring us into line with 'the latest rules'. This came into force, presumably, at this year's APCM. Not sure where that leaves me. Next, today's meeting noted my comment that we have 13 PCC elected members. That was a mistake,it was said, because in 2001 the PCC resolved to only fill 12 of the possible 15 places. To correct the mistake, as of today, one of the co-opted members has been asked to agree to be 'in attendance' so that they can then co-opt the H&S officer, as last year. Apparently he was not voted on at the APCM nor has he been co-opted - he's just rattling around in there at the moment. This then fills the maximum co-options of 3 again. Note that they are using the allowable elected number of 15 not the actual of 12 to decide the number of co-options. Finally, they couldn't co-opt me anyway because I've just done 4 years.
So today I would like to ask: Can the PCC resolve to only elect 12 representatives? If so can it later resolve to go back to 15 and thus have 3 casual vacancies? Is the figure of 3 co-options valid in the present situation? Am I right in understanding that co-option is not limited by a prior elected period?
The PCC cannot change the default rule that specifies the number of PCC members, in your case 15 for an electoral roll over 200. But the APCM is allowed to change the number. But if the APCM votes to change the number the change only comes into effect at the following year's APCM.
The number of allowed co-opted members is determined by the actual number of elected members. So if the APCM reduces this from 15 to 12 then only two are allowed.
You haven't mentioned your churchwardens or deanery synod representatives. These are in addition to the 12 (or 15) elected members that we have been discussing. You are not allowed to place any restrictions on how long a deanery synod member may serve.
Hello, it's me again (John - see 6 Sep). We've been gathering a few facts. In 2002 APCM resolved two things: 1) To limit elected PCC members to 12, 2) To limit length of service to 4 years followed by 1 year off before eligibility for re-election. However, in 2008 a resolution was carried to come into line with recommendations that service should be for 3 years with possible re-election for another 3 years. This presumably came into force at the 2009 APCM (beginning or end of?). 3 members who had served for 4 years were said to be unelectable at this same APCM. Reasonable? We have 3 Deanery Synod reps ex-officio as well as 3 ministers. Interestingly the first new PCC meeting co-opted (amongst its wrongly assumed 3 allowable) a licensed reader. Rule 14 seems to me to indicate they did not need to do so(?). As one PCC member suggested, it seems to be turning into a dog's dinner! Once again, comments most welcome.
I haven't forgotten you John!
I agree that you have got yourselves into a bit of a mess.
It's up to the APCM to decide whether to appoint one or more of your readers to the PCC. The PCC cannot do this. In addition readers are eligible to stand for election to any of the lay positions on the PCC.
I think that any limit on years of service comes into effect immediately. I'm not sure though whether you can use this to cut short a term of office to which someone was elected previously.
With three year terms of office it clearly makes sense to restrict people to a multiple of three years (indeed I don't really think you can do anything else). I think that two terms of three years is quite common. Sometimes a person is elected to fill the remainder of a term of office of someone who resigns part way through and you might want to consider whether such a partial term counts as one of the two.
You haven't mentioned that with three year terms of office one-third of people should be elected each year. So when you set this up with 12 elected members, four should be elected for three years, four for two years and four for one year.
The rules don't go into transitional arrangements so I suggest that you put a resolution to the next APCM to regularise the situation. This should include
1) number of elected members (12)
2) each to serve for three years
3) which, if any, of the present elected members are deemed to be only part way through a three term of office
4) a limit of two consecutive terms of office, and how long a gap before re-election is permitted
5) whether or not previous service shall count towards these two terms
6) whether there shall be a place for a reader (and how that reader is chosen if you have more than one).
But I am not a lawyer so you may want to consult someone who should know for certain what to do (archdeacon, diocesan registrar).
Hello yet again. (Tell me if this is getting boring.) Many thanks for your last comments Peter. We're still in a mess! We're also on a count down of a month to an interregnum. The last thing we want is a squabble on representation diverting PCC's energies from the vital tasks of administering the parish and finding a new incumbent. So let me run this past you please:
I think we need an EPCM as soon as possible. (There will be no problem in getting the required support for calling one.) Whilst the EPCM cannot increase the number of elected members from 12 (decided in 2001) to 15, with immediate effect, it could move to make our Reader and the Deputy Wardens ex-officio (?). This then gives vacancies which can be filled by election at the same EPCM. Is this too simplistic? Or would it solve our problems and enable a stronger PCC to move on. I'd like to think so .....
I've looked at the rules and what you are proposing is actually a special parochial church meeting (PCM). It can be called by the minister, and he/she must call one on the written representation of one-third of the lay members of the PCC. Once you have your vacancy the duties of the minister devolve to the deputy chair of the PCC.
So far as I can see such a special PCM could appoint one or more readers to the PCC as you propose.
However you have no power to make deputy churchwardens ex officio members. Deputy wardens are only recognised by the rules in parishes with more than one place of worship where there is a appropriate scheme in place. Such a scheme has to be approved by the bishop's council before it can come into effect.
I am assuming that your deputy wardens are of the unofficial variety that many parishes have.
By the way there is such a thing as an extraordinary PCM. It's something that you have to petition the archdeacon to call and chair.
Could you please let me know whose responsibility it is to count the weekly collection in church. Should it be PCC members or can anyone count the money.
Anybody can count the money. In my parish we have three teams of two people and they take it in turns to count the money. Some, at least, of them are not PCC members.
The PCC does have overall responsibility for financial matters and it would be a good idea for them to approve the counting arrangements.
Peter, I think you will be interested to know that common sense has prevailed at last! The Archdeacon has been consulted and authorized us to continue as we are, errors not withstanding, until the next APCM (or Special PCM if appropriate) when things can be tidied up along the lines you suggest in your last message - for which many thanks. Just two further queries today, if I may: Can PCC co-opt a member irrespective of them being in a one year stand down from re-election according to rules passed at an APCM in the past? And who decides who may be "in attendance" at a PCC meeting? I can't find anything specific on these in the CR rulebook. As ever, comments appreciated.
I'm glad to hear that you are sorting things out.
The rule about limiting continuous service on the PCC only applies to the elected "representatives of the laity" as defined in rule 14(1)(g). So it does not apply to co-opted members, members of deanery synods etc. So there is nothing to stop you co-opting a person who is not currently eligible to stand for election.
I see nothing in the rules about people in attendance at PCC meetings, so unless the bishop has made provision for this (which he allowed to do in such circumstances - see rule 52(1)(a)) it's up to the PCC to decide for itself.
General Provisions relating to Parochial Church Councils, Appendix II, section 17;
"No proceedings of the council shall be invalidated by any vacancy in the membership of the council or by any defect in the qualification or election of any member thereof."
So it's understandable if the Archdeacon isn't really all that concerned.
As for money counting, I think in my church it's mostly done by teams of sidesmen, that way, if things go wrong, the treasurer (or churchwardens) can relax a little, it's the APCM's fault for appointing the wrong sidesmen. As churchwardens are the "emergency" treasurers of the parish, and sidesmen are assistant churchwardens, it all seems to hang together.
Can you please clarify the status of a PCC Treasurer appointed when an elected PCC member and continuing as Treasurer beyond his three years. Is he voted in by the PCC post APCM as ex officio or is he co-opted? Also is he elected once in perpetuity or for a fixed term or must he be re-elected annually
Similarly an elected member of the PCC has been voted Deanery Synod member by the PCC in her third year. She, I believe, becomes thereby an ex officio member of the PCC. Does this status apply until the end of her three year term as DS member without further vote?
Our 2009-licensed reader, currently an elected PCC member, will be voted by the APCM as an ex officio member of the PCC probably with a three year term specified before re-election by the APCM is necessary. Will her status of ex officio remain as long as the APCM continues to vote in her favour?
Apologies if this sounds like an exam question but it has been a year of exceptions! Many thanks.
Just a quickie if I may. We are now in an interregnum and need to choose two parish representatives. I believe they have to be PCC members. But what I don't think I believe, but what has been said, is that they must be ELECTED PCC members and therefore cannot be co-opted members. True?
Section 11 of the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986 refers to the PCC "appointing two lay members of the council to act as representatives of the council in connection with the selection of an incumbent". I can see nothing restricting this to elected members, so the PCC can appoint co-opted members (provided that they are lay members, ie not clergy).
You can find the text of the measure here:
Thanks for your comment Peter. Now here's a long shot for you: can a Special Parish Meeting have a fresh election for the churchwardens?!
You need to bear in mind that churchwardens are elected at a "meeting of the parishioners" and not at a Parochial Church Meeting.
The annual meeting of parishioners must take place before 30 April each calendar year. The churchwardens elected there take office when admitted by the bishop (or his duly appointed substitute) and this must be done before 31 July. They remain in office until their successors (who may be themselves) are admitted in the following year, or they resign or become ineligible.
If there is a casual vacancy during the year then a special meeting of parishioners can be called to fill the vacancy. What such a meeting cannot do is vote to remove a serving churchwarden from office.
I have assumed in the above that both churchwardens are elected. In certain circumstances one of them may be appointed by the minister.
Full details are in the Churchwardens Measure of 2001.
Peter, thanks for your comment above. I understand now. Another one please: I see on the clergy association web site under 'Interregnum - meetings generally' it says various people including the Archdeacon and Rural [Area?] Dean have no right to attend a section 11 meeting of the PCC. Further, that it is actually illegal (though common practice) for either to "assume the chair and,for good or ill, take over the proceedings". I can't see anything in section 11 which is that specific. Is it so do you know?
The section 11 meeting of the PCC is a PCC meeting like any other so only members are entitled to attend. So unless the archdeacon and/or rural/area dean happen to be beneficed in or licensed to the parish, but are not the outgoing incumbent, they have no right to attend. There is no need for section 11 to spell this out.
The church representation rules specify who shall chair PCC meetings and it is always a member of the PCC.
The only exception to this is where one third of the PCC members have petitioned the archdeacon to call an extraordinary PCC meeting but that does not appear relevant here as the PCC secretary is required to call the section 11 meeting.
I am so pleased to have found your Question and Answer pages and find it a fund of helpful explanations of sometimes, ambiguous text.
My question is with regard to electoral rolls and
I am fighting to get our Council to adopt the procedures set out in Part 1 of the CRRs. However, one person has suggested that the Diocesan Handbook may well contradict the CRRs on electoral roll procedures. Not having a copy of this, I cannot be sure but surely the Diocesan handbook would not set out different rules to the CRRs, or would it?
If so which has the higher authority?
Some dioceses offer parishes guidance on the meaning of the CRRs. But it can only be guidance. So if there is a conflict between your diocesan handbook and the rules, then the rules apply. Do consider the possibility that your diocese, or the person who claims to know what the handbook says, has made a mistake.
I now have a copy of the relevant Diocesan Handbook and it does refer to the CRR's.
However, one point that astonishes me is that whereas the form for the Electoral Roll states ----- "I have habitually attended public worship in the church ----during the period of 6 months" - the Diocese is suggesting that one or two attendances during the six months would be sufficient to qualify.
Would it be too cynical to suggest that they probably need the money?
The rules do not define "habitual attendance" and so far as I am aware its meaning has never been tested in court. So all anyone can do is offer an opinion. However I think that it is generally agreed that habitual does not mean often, and that the number of attendances required is small. But I would have thought that a habit requires repetition, so that at the very least two attendances are required.
I assume your reference to money refers to calculation of parish shares. Not all dioceses use electoral roll numbers in their calculations (Liverpool for example does not). In any case these numbers are used to decide how to divide the total share between parishes and not to determine what that total should be.
I accept your view although if I were looking at the effects of a drug being "habit forming", I would understand it to mean that the user would be taking it more than twice!
If that is the correct interpretation how does one deal with a European Diocese that has a core of regular worshippers who should, presumably, manage their own church. However, there are a good number of visitors from the UK who might attend twice but who would have equal voting rights to the "regulars"? Should the visitors be able to outvote the residents? It becomes even more difficult when Postal Voting has been adopted.
We are now in an interregnum. We have had a meeting with the bishop who has asked us to hold a PCC meeting. Our PCC Secretary is a bit slow in calling this meeting and therefore, as lay chair and church warden, can I force the issue.
We have to vote on the A & B resolution and appoint parish representatives and I think a PCC meeting should be called as soon as possible.
Somebody who attends a few times, goes on the electoral roll and is then never seen again should be removed from the roll after six months "unless prevented from doing so [ie habitually attending public worship] by illness or other sufficient cause". I don't think that living a few thousand miles away is a sufficient cause.
The initial decision to allow postal votes can only be made at a meeting where votes are cast in person. Members of a parish with a large number of occasional attenders on the roll might want to consider the wisdom of voting to allow postal voting.
The meeting to which you refer must be held within 28 days of the PCC secretary being notified of the vacancy by the "Designated Officer".
The Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986* puts the duty to call the meeting on the PCC secretary. I've had a quick look at the measure and I cannot see what happens if the PCC secretary fails to act. I cannot see why as vice chair of the PCC you cannot call the meeting. Would your secretary be happy for you to do all the work, but put his/her name at the bottom of the agenda?
There are actually six things for the meeting to do (see section 11 of the Measure).
(a) prepare a statement describing the conditions, needs and traditions of the parish;
(b) appoint two lay members of the council to act as representatives of the council in connection with the selection of an incumbent;
(c) decide whether to request the registered patron to consider advertising the vacancy;
(d) decide whether to request a meeting under section 12 of this Measure;
(e) decide whether to request a statement in writing from the bishop describing in relation to the benefice the needs of the diocese and the wider interests of the Church.
(f) decide whether to pass a resolution under section 3(1) or (2) of the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993.
You will note that the meeting can decide not to vote on the A&B resolutions. When my parish last had a vacancy, resolution B was on the agenda but since nobody was prepared to propose it, I (as chair) decided that this was equivalent to deciding not to vote on it. [Resolution A could not be on the agenda as we had a women priest licensed to the parish.]
You do not have to do everything at one meeting.
* The Measure is online here:
What a great site!
I have just finished my first year as p-i-c in urban parish. Third incumbency but first time with the following situation:
There is a tiny congregation, and so a tiny PCC - 6 elected plus 2 wardens.
5 of the 6 PCC have served for many years; 4 of those 5 for decades.
As far as I can find, in the somewhat fugitive APCM minutes over the years, none of them have ever stood down recently.
I've always had a 3-year rolling policy before, never had to create one.
Is the way forward to ask the 2 longest serving to stand down - and will they then be elgible in 2011? Are PCC members elected for 1 year or for 3? I find both statements within the rules.
I'd appreciate your advice.
One more from the same parish.
I intend to choose one warden under CRR 2001 4(5).
This person has had a long history of being warden but did stand down in 2005, only for 1 year.
Regarding the 6 years on/2 years off rule, are they eligible for nomination?
If not, can I apply to the bishop for them to be deemed eligible?
The default position for PCC members is that each year one third are elected for three years (Rule 14(1)(g) and there is no limit on people being re-elected at the end on the three years (Rule 17).
The APCM can vote to place a restriction on how many times a person can be re-elected without a break (Rule 17) but any such vote does not come into effect until the following year.
You obviously need to regularize the position, and I agree with your suggestion that two stand down this year, two in 2011 and two in 2012, and that you start with the longest serving members. Unless the APCM has in the past voted to put any restrictions on re-election, those who stand down are eligible for immediate re-election.
You don't mention your representatives on the deanery synod. These are always elected for three years, and you are not allowed to put restrictions on their re-election.
The Churchwardens Measure came into force on 1 January 2002, and service before then does not count towards the six-year rule. So your warden is considered to have served for only three years when he/she stood down in 2005. The disqualification for two years applies only after six consecutive years. So when he/she was elected in 2006 the clock goes back to zero and he/she is eligible to serve as warden until 2012.
So far as I can see there is no provision for the bishop to dispense with the provisions of the six-year rule, either in general or for a particular individual. But the meeting of parishioners can vote for the rule not to apply to their parish.
Thank you very much for your help.
We do have 1 DS rep., who was elected in 2009, and who is also an elected PCC member. That's one more space.
Wow! WHAT a useful website! But I can't find an answer to my query - can you advise please? Is there a maximum number of years a person may serve on the PCC before being asked to step-down (as is the case with Wardens). We have a number of very long-serving PCC members and would like to invite 'new blood' to join us, but without offending those who have served for 20+ years.
By default there is no limit on the length of continuous service as a representative of the laity on the PCC. But the APCM can pass a resolution to impose a limit, and also to specify how long before a person can serve again.
Note that this does not apply to your deanery synod representatives.
Here is the relevant extract from the rules.
17. Limitation on years of service
The annual meeting may decide that no representative of the laity being a member of the parochial church council by virtue of rule 14(1)(g) may hold office after the date of that meeting for more than a specified number of years continuously and may also decide that after a specified interval a person who has ceased to be eligible by reason of such decision may again stand for election as representative of the laity on the council.
In CRR's Appendix 1 Section 2; Rule 2(1) there is the Form of Notice of Revision of Church Electoral Roll.
in section (iv) there are some conditions followed by a comment "[proviso repealed]"
To what does this refer, please?
At some point a proviso, presumably to section (iv), has been repealed. I don't know what it was, or why the note appears in the printed rules. Normally notes about changes to he Rules are only included to explain missing section numbers.
If the pastoral relationship
between incumbent and churchwarden 2
and between churchwarden 2 and churchwarden 1
have broken down
but churchwarden 2 exercises their right to stand again at the next APCM, must they be accepted, if eligible and elected?
I am thinking of a situation where only 2 names are proposed.
It is not a question of personal dislike, "Dr. Fell" happens, but a conviction based on experience that this triumvirate, or any that included cw2, would not be in the interests of the spiritual development of the parish.
I am aware of CWM 4(5) but although the wording starts optimistically, it doesn't actually help this situation.
If only two people are nominated to be churchwardens then both will become wardens.
If you exercise your incumbent's right (under section 4(5) of the measure) to choose one warden you must choose one of the two. The other will then be elected unopposed by the meeting. If you do not choose one yourself then both will be elected unopposed by the meeting.
Even if more than two people are nominated and you choose one yourself you cannot veto the person elected by the meeting as the second warden.
Hypothetically ~ Were it to be found that - before one arrived in a parish as incumbent - no new roll was created in 2007, merely the usual annual revision, what might be the implications?
The bishop has power to arrange for someone to put things right:
Rule 53 (1) In the carrying out of these rules in any diocese the bishop of such diocese shall have power -
(b) to appoint a person to do any act in respect of which there has been any neglect on the part of any person or body charged with any duty under these rules;
And the rural dean has a duty to inform the bishop:
Rule 53 (5) In the case of an omission in any parish to prepare or maintain a roll or form or maintain a council or to hold the annual meeting, the rural dean upon such omission being brought to his notice shall ascertain and report to the bishop the cause thereof.
Ah, Peter has posted while I was writing my reply. I suppose 53(3) is also relevant (proceedings of PCC not invalidated by any defect in the qualification, election or appointment of members).
Peter, Richard, Thankyou both.
If someone has moved from one church to another in the last 3 months and has been on the electoral roll of their new church less than 6 months, but was on the electoral roll of their old church for several years and only ceased membership 3 months ago when they moved house, can they now stand as an ordinary member of PCC at their new church?
Our Church Electoral Roll is now over 200. Will the PCC need to have 15 ordinary elected members after the 2010 APCM? Currently we only have 9. If the church decides that it wants less than 15 ordinary elected members on PCC who decides and when would this take affect?
This website is a revelation! I would like to know if it is acceptable for the AGM of a PCC to be brought forward from April to February at the wish of a NSM who has announced his resignation from the end of April.
Also is there any upper age limit for a churchwarden to hold office?
Another query. If several people stand for the positions of 2 churchwardens, how many votes does each church member have? And how significant would it be if the electoral roll was not displayed before the APCM?
You have to be on the roll of the parish where you stand for election to the PCC for six months. You cannot transfer time on the roll of another parish.
With over 200 members on the roll you should have 15 elected PCC members. The annual meeting can vote to change this but any change only comes into effect the following year.
The rules do not specify the transitional arrangements when numbers increase. May I suggest that you elect 5 people for 3 years, 2 for 2 years and 2 for 1 year.
The rules only specify the latest date for the annual meeting. But you must present the audited (or independently examined) accounts to the meeting. How early you can hold the meeting depends on how quickly you can have the accounts ready.
There is no upper age limit on churchwardens.
If two churchwardens are being elected at one meeting each elector has two votes. Electors may not give both votes to the same candidate.
The purpose of displaying the roll before the annual meeting is to allow for errors and omissions to be corrected. There is nothing in the rules about what happens if the roll is not displayed. So unless somebody complains I don't think it is too important.
For church regular members, but not confirmed, at what stage can they become members of the PCC??
This couple are making a huge contibrution to church affairs, but have been denied a seat on the
hOW CAN THIS MATTER BE ADDRESSED???
Barrie, Church Representation Rule 10(1) and (3) specify the qualifications as:
* On the electoral roll for at least 6 months - we'll come back to this.
* "Actual communicant" - we'll come back to this one, too.
* Aged 16+
* Consents to serve on the PCC, or there is "sufficient evidence of his willingness to serve"
* Not disqualified under various circumstances which probably don't apply in this case.
OK, so what qualifies someone to be on the Electoral Roll? That's set out in Rule 1(2), but in this case the people in question will either be on the roll now, or not, as the case may be and that should settle this aspect. If these people are on the roll but someone feels that they ought not to be, they should appeal (Rule 43) in writing to the lay chair of the Deanery Synod.
The other question is about being an "actual communicant", defined in Rule 54(1). This boils down to someone who has received communion in the CofE (or a church in communion) at least 3 times in the preceding twelve months and is either confirmed, ready and desirous for confirmation, or receiving communion under Canon B 15A paragraph 1(b), which refers to "baptized persons who are communicant members of other Churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and who are in good standing in their own Church".
If, after working through all that, it is felt that the couple involved were entitled to be candidates for election to the PCC, an appeal can be made (Rule 44) in writing to the Lay Chair of the Deanery Synod by any elector or candidate in the election, within 14 days of the presiding officer declaring the result. The lay chair will refer the matter to the Bishop's Council of the diocese.
Why do they not get confirmed?
Hello Peter, I thought I'd already asked this question, but can't find it now ! Can our priest-in-charge announce a new "service" in our church (one of 6 in the benefice) without having consulted the PCC? The "service" is not of the normal construction in our traditional church but is leaning heavily towards the evangelical performance. It is, also, not to the liking of those in this parish and they aren't going to change their opinions. There is a contingent that does like that way of holding a service but those people are already catered for in another church in the benefice. This 4.00pm on a Sunday afternoon is anathema to all and in any case the PCC never had an option to vote because it was a fait accompli by the priest.
The lack of consultation seems unhelpful in this case - I'm not sure I'm competent to comment on the legalities - but "anathema" is an awfully strong word to use against those who might come to such a service...
Please can you tell me if a retired Baptist Minister who has now been a member of our Anglican congregation for over 2 years could go on our Church Electoral Roll and then after 6 months on the Roll be elected on to the PCC? I understand that retired Anglican Clergy are unable to go on an Anglican Church Electoral Roll, but is it the same for retired Baptist Ministers?
From the Church of England's point of view, a Baptist minister is a lay person, so he/she is eligible to join the electoral roll and be elected to the PCC on the same terms as any other lay person.
In particular he/she will have to declare that he/she is a member of the Church of England in order to join the roll, and be an "actual communicant" to be eligible for election to the PCC.
Can a PCC pass a motion of no confidence in its chairman - ie PiC? Would it have any effect?
Thank you for your reply. I agree anathema is a strong word but it is also the case that those who are opposed to it feel very strongly, probably because it comes on top of quite a number of other things that have been badly handled because the PCC has been powerless to stop them. We don't mind "change" but we do mind when we know things are not right for the current congregation.
Could you please let me know whether a church warden should be Lay chair of a PCC or whether another PCC member should be elected lay chair.
Strictly speaking, the person you refer to is the vice-chair (the minister is the chair). He or she must be a lay member of the PCC, but there is no other restriction. In particular there is no requirement for the vice-chair to be (or not to be) one of the churchwardens.
2 elected members of our tiny (6) PCC have generously agreed to stand down this time, to begin the pattern of the rolling 3 years of service, which this church has not seen in years, decades.
Discreet enquiries have elicited 2 members of the congregation who would be willing to stand, if elected, and who would bring breadth and new blood to our meetings.
However, one of them is the organist and so, technically, an employee. Frankly, we pay him so little that I'm ashamed to call it an honorarium, let alone a salary.
He would be a huge asset and perfectly capable of removing himself if we came to discuss the money we pay him. However, one of our number inists that this is not allowed, citing that it would not be appropriate to discuss any financial matters at all 'with an employee'; nor to discuss matters liturgical with someone 'with a vested interest in liturgy'.
I don't see a difficulty in the former comment and I think the second comment is silly. I'd appreciate A View.
Could you please let me know the position on Parish Represenatives and whether the congregation are in the right to know their names.
Also is a new incumbent allowed to attend a service at their new church before they are installed in that church. He would be in normal clothes and the only reason to attend would be to meet his new congregation informally.
The Church Representation rules have nothing to say about whether PCC employees can also be PCC members. But PCCs are charities, and their members are charity trustees. So charity law also applies. You will have to find someone who knows more about this that I do to say whether or in what circumstances charity law forbids employees from being trustees.
Any PCC member should make a declaration of interest, and possibly withdraw from the meeting, when appropriate.
Surely everybody on the PCC has a "vested interest in liturgy".
I don't know of any explicit provision requiring the names of the parish representatives to be made public, but one can deduce that the members of the electoral roll are entitle to know who they are. This is because the parish representatives are elected at a PCC meeting, and so their names are recorded in the minutes. Members of the electoral roll are entitled to see PCC minutes and can thereby find out the names.
There is nothing to stop a new incumbent attending his/her new parish before installation. But so remember that until installation he/she is not the incumbent, so the visit is not an occasion for either side to be making decisions.
That certainly is my view!
A casual vacany on the house of laity of Diocesan Synod was filled by election by Deanery Synod, the person elected being a lay member of the Deanery Synod. Does that create a vacany on Deanery Synod for the remainder of the term of that member which can now be filled by election by the Parish whose representative he was?
The question is asked because Deanery has indicated that there is no vacancy, the reason given being that the person's "place on Diocesan Synod requires him to hold a position on Deanery Synod".
If this means that a person is required to be a member of Deanery Synod in order to qualify for membership of Diocesan Synod, I respecfully believe it to be wrong but am ready to defer to any factor of which I am unaware.
On the other hand it may be the opinion intends to imply that because the person elected to fill the Diocesan vacancy "happened" to be a member of Deanery Synod, that did not itself create a vacany on Deanery Synod and the person remains the representative of the parish who originally elected him for the remainder of his three year term (Rule 24(6)(a))as well as now being on Diocesan Synod and thus a member of Deanery Synod under Rule 24(6)(b)in his own right.
Are the classifications of membership under Rule 24(6) mutally exclusive or can one person be dual qualified?
Depending on the answers given, is the view expressed that there is no vacancy on Deanery Synod right for the reason given, right, but for the wrong reasons - or wrong?
The election of an elected member of the deanery synod to the diocesan synod does not create a vacancy on the deanery synod, but not for the reason stated.
You need to look at the second half of rule 47; I have copied the complete rule below.
No person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen a member of any body under these rules by the fact that he is also a member ex-officio of that body; and no person shall be deemed to vacate his seat as such an elected or chosen member of any body by reason only of the fact that subsequently to his election or choice he has become a member of that body ex-officio.
Furthermore it is wrong to state that a person must be a member of the deanery synod in order to stand for election to the diocesan synod.
Also a person can be a member of a body in more than one capacity; I have been in that position myself.
There is of course nothing to stop your newly elected member of the diocesan synod from resigning his/her elected place on the deanery synod, but that is a matter for him/her to decide.
I have found the site really useful but as a new secretary need to be absolutely clear about PCC membership. Am I correct in thinking that the PCC can co-opt others to join the PCC and these new people don't have to have been on the electoral roll for six months or longer but do join the PCC with full voting rights even though they weren't eligible to be elected as PCC members?
Sue, you are correct. The only requirement is that co-opted members must be "either clerks in Holy Orders or actual lay communicants of sixteen years of age or upwards". Co-opted members have exactly the same voting rights as any other member of the PCC.
The maximum number of co-opted members allowed is either one-fifth the number of elected representatives of the laity, or two, whichever is greater.
At our APCM a person who is on the church Electoral Roll, but not a member of the PCC was elected as Vestry Clerk. Please can you tell me if they are therefore automatically a member of the PCC?
Could you also please tell me who appoints the PCC Treasurer and PCC Secretary. Is it the responsibility of the PCC to do this?
If all the PCC vacancies or Deanery Synod vacancies are not filled at the APCM, does the PCC have the right to appoint people to fill the vacancies, or does it have to take place at a church meeting called for all Electoral Roll members?
The church representation rules do not recognise the position of vestry clerk, and such a person is not an ex officio member of the PCC.
The PCC appoint their treasurer and secretary.
Whenever there are casual vacancies for PCC members (and that includes places unfilled at the APCM) the PCC has the right to fill these places. In the case of deanery synod places the PCC has the duty to fill them. This does not apply if the vacancies arise less than two months before the APCM. I think the implication is that in this case the APCM fill the vacancies.
I have a question about rules and guidelines for the PCC agenda. I know that notice of a PCC meeting has to be given publicly and at least ten days before the meeting and that the agenda has to be posted on the notice board at least seven days before. But it doesn't happen at my church. Notice of the meeting is often given out at the Sunday service just four days before the meeting and the agenda is never publicly displayed. Members of the PCC sometimes do not receive the minutes of the previous meeting until the date of the meeting.
Also, the agenda is always the same - a standard list.
- Apologies for absence
- Minutes of previous meeting
- Matters arising
- Any other business
- Date of next meeting
Specific items for discussion are never previously notified so members of the congregation would have no idea what is to be discussed even if the agenda were posted. PCC members are similarly uninformed about specific items and even when a member gives written notice of an item for the agenda it will not be listed. The member will be invited to speak at the meeting but other members will not have had an opportunity to think about the matter beforehand.
What can a PCC member do when the rules are not being followed? Also, are there any guidelines about drawing up an agenda? I think there is an implied expectation in the rules that an agenda should be meaningful to those who are not PCC members, otherwise there is no point in the requirement to publish it to the congregation.
So far as I can see, the PCC agenda only has to be sent to members. There is no requirement to post it publicly. This is in Appendix II to the rules:
4(b) Not less than seven days before the meeting a notice thereof specifying the time and place of the meeting signed by or on behalf of the secretary shall be posted or delivered to every member of the council or, if the member has authorised the use of an electronic mail address, to that address. Such notice shall contain the agenda of the meeting including any motion or other business proposed by any member of the council of which notice has been received by the secretary. The notice required by this sub-paragraph shall not be required for a council meeting immediately following the annual parochial church meeting being a council meeting which has been called solely for the purpose of appointing or electing any officers of the council or the members of the standing committee thereof provided that the notice required by sub-paragraph (a) hereof has been given.
So, when members give written notice of business, it must be included on the agenda.
There is also a provision about the quorum, and the circumstances in which business not on the agenda may be transacted:
6. No business shall be transacted at any meeting of the council unless at least one-third of the members are present thereat and no business which is not specified in the agenda shall be transacted at any meeting except by the consent of three-quarters of the members present at the meeting.
Our PCC hasn't had a Standing Committee for quite some time and as the 'new secretary' I have been tasked with drawing up the Terms of Reference for this committee. Some members are making this into a very formal thing by wanting every i dotted and t crossed. Is this really necessary? Does anyone have an example of how to set up the Standing Committee?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Peter, thank you for your reply. I have given written notice, 16 days in advance of the meeting, and have just received the agenda. My item is not included.
This is the notice I gave to the incumbent and to the pcc secretary
ITEM : PREPARATION OF AGENDAS etc for PCC MEETINGS
- To discuss the requirements of the Church Representation Rules and to propose that PCC Agendas specify Reports and particular items for discussion.
- To consider how Agendas, supporting documents and agreed minutes are made available for public inspection and to propose that these documents (apart from anything agreed by thePCC to be confidential) are made available to the whole congregation by being pinned on a notice board or placed on a table with other items of information.
Relevant sections of Church Representation Rules
Extracts from a Handbook for PCC secretaries.
The last item on the agenda I've recieved is 'Future events, Agendas etc'. It seems that 'Agendas etc' is meant to cover my notified proposals but this doesn't give members a chance to read the supporting documents and to think about the proposals before the meeting.
I'm making these proposals because of serious changes which are about to take place in the life of the church and concerns expressed by congregation members at an open meeting. There needs to be open discussion and consensus within
the church and I don't think this will happen if pcc meetings continue to be managed in a casual way without proper notification and with any special business or motions coming as a surprise to most of the members.
As far as I can see, Section 4b requires that specific proposals are notified.
I'm going to ask that the agenda is re-written to include my proposals and re-distributed along with the supporting documents. But what can I do if this is refused?
I can't remember if you said that you were a member of the PCC, but if you are, I would now simply send all other PCC members the supporting documents "in preparation for the discussion of item 'Future events, Agendas etc'."
I have left my church because I was disatisfied with how things were run and now wish to join another. I have written to the Electoral Roll Officer of my old church and asked my name to be removed from the Electoral Roll but after 2 months and 2 letters I have had no response. What is my best course of action?
Thank you for your help.
I don't think you should worry. The old parish cannot refuse to remove your name, so I think that you can assume that it has been removed even if you don't receive an acknowledgement.
Did you explicitly ask the ERO for confirmation that your name had been removed. If not try writing again.
In any case, you are allowed to be on more than one electoral roll, so there is nothing to stop you joining the roll of your new parish (provided that you are qualified to join).
What I suggest you do now is take advantage of rule 3(1).
3. (1) When a person applying for enrolment on the roll of any parish signifies his desire that his name should be removed from the roll of any other parish, notice of that fact shall be sent by the parochial church council receiving that application to the parochial church council of that other parish.
Apply to join the roll of your new parish and attach a note asking to be removed from the roll of your old parish. Remind the ERO of rule 3(1) and say that either he/her or the PCC secretary should write to your old parish.
Thank you for your help, Peter Owen. I will do what you suggest.
Can you please remind me of the procedures the PCC has to follow if any part of the "fabric" ie ornaments, furniture, etc., is to be disposed of. I believe it is a faculty and permission of the parish should be sought. In this case pews to be replaced by chairs and very few in favour.
Someone on our PCC has voiced their opinion that when a vote is to take place during a PCC meeting, a postal vote would be acceptable. The way I read the rule was that postal votes are acceptable for certain elections at annual meetings, but only those present at a PCC meeting are eligible to vote. Would you please be kind enough to advise.
I don't know too much about faculty rules, but I am fairly sure that a faculty is required to remove pews. I suggest that you take advice from the archdeacon and/or the DAC.
You need to look at section 10 in Appendix II of the Church Representation Rules (General provisions relating to parochial church councils).
Vote of majority to decide
10 The business of the Council shall be decided by a majority of the members present and voting thereon.
Although it is not quite explicit, the clear implication of this is that voting takes place at the meeting.
'Fred' is a member of PCC, Deanery Synod and Diocesan Synod. If 'Fred' resigns from Deanery Synod, does he keep his ex-officio membership of Deanery Synod which derives from being a member of Diocesan Synod? He is still on the Electoral Roll of the parish which elected him to Deanery Synod.
Yes, he does keep his ex-officio membership of the deanery synod (and of the PCC) which derives from his diocesan synod membership.
I know that personal information should not be included in PCC minutes that are made available to those outside the PCC but is there any ruling that says PCC minutes must only be made available to those on the electoral roll? I have seen an instruction that the PCC minutes will be inside the church but cannot be posted outside on the noticeboard.
Those on the electoral roll have the right to see the minutes. Others may see the minutes if the PCC authorizes them to do so.
Could I query that please? I used to think that it was possible to minute confidential business which would not be the case if anybody on the Electoral Roll had access to them.
I've just looked through my "ABC for the PCC" where it says:
"Members of the Council shall have access to the minutes of all meetings, but no other person other than the bishop or the archdeacon, or a person authorised by either of them in writing, shall have accesss to the minutes without the authority of the Council".
Could you possibly confirm?
If the PCC deems any minutes to be confidential then the electoral members are not allowed to see those minutes.
Apart from that electoral roll members are allowed access to minutes of all PCC meetings held since the 1995 APCM. How old is your "ABC for the PCC"?
The independent examiner or auditor, the bishop, the archdeacon and any person authorised by one of them in writing are allowed access to the minutes without the authority of the PCC.
"How old is your "ABC for the PCC"?"
I checked and it was last revised in 2001!
So does the PCC have to declare the minutes confidential at the time of the meeting? And can it declare selected parts of them confidential?
It would be sensible for the PCC to declare a minute confidential at the time of the meeting, but I don't think this is compulsory. Electoral members are allowed to see only approved minutes, so it would be possible to declare a minute confidential at the following meeting and so stop electoral roll members from seeing it.
The PCC can declare individual items in the minutes confidential. It would be sensible to keep a separate record of these, with perhaps this item in the main minutes: "A confidential matter was discussed."
This may be outside the CRR's but have you any information on distribution of PCC MOM's?
Two people have asked for copies of MOM's for all the past years meetings and I believe this is unreasonable and undesirable. However, I do believe that we should allow them to see the minutes in say the church or Secretary's house.
Electoral Roll members are allowed "access to the approved minutes of Council meetings held after the annual parochial church meeting in 1995 except any minutes deemed by the Council to be confidential". So they can view them as you suggest, but they cannot require you to supply copies.
Those not on the electoral roll have no right of access to the minutes, but the PCC can resolve to allow access.
Apologies for revisiting a subject previously covered, i.e. removing names from the electoral roll.
My updated copy of Handbook for Churchwardens states that the name of a person should be removed if he/she "(e) is not resident in the parish AND has not habitually attended public worship in the parish during the preceding six months ......"
(The emphasis on "AND" being mine)
Setting aside illness, does that mean that a name may not be removed if the person HAS NOT attended worship but IS still resident in the parish?
The answer to your question, David, is that such a person may not be removed from the roll. A resident of the parish is not required to attend worship to be on the electoral roll.
So we have to pay the Diocese for them even though they do not contribute anything? Presumably in 2013 when a new roll is made, they would have to say that they have attended during the previous six months or they are a member of another C of E church?
Whether you have to pay the diocese for them depends on how your diocese calculates the parish share. Here in Liverpool, for example, no account is taken of numbers on the electoral roll.
When the new roll is compiled in 2013 the eligibility criteria are the same as always. A resident of the parish who is baptised, is aged 16 or over, has signed an application form, and declares him/herself to be a member of the Church of England (or a church in communion with the CofE) is entitled to be entered on the roll. There is no requirement for residents to attend worship.
In our parish licensed readers have alway been ex-officio members of the PCC. In September, one of our licensed readers retired at 90 years of age. She was subsequently made Emeritus reader. Does this person still fall under the blanket ex-officio rule for PCC membership or did this come to an end when she lost her license at 90. If it has come to an end, does this happen when she loses her license or at the next AGM.
Apologies for the complicated question.
APCMs can only make licensed readers ex officio members of the PCC. So your retired reader ceased to be a PCC member at the moment when she lost her licence.
Thank you for your prompt reply. This now results in a rather awkward situation. The retired reader mentioned in my previous question went on to attend a subsequent PCC meeting at which she voted on a quite critical motion. Without her vote the chairman would have had to use his casting vote. Does that make the resulting vote null and void?
The rules do say "No proceedings of the council shall be invalidated by any vacancy in the membership of the council or by any defect in the qualification or election of any member thereof." So I think that the decision stands.
What concerns me a little is the phrase 'any defect in the qualification or election of any member thereof', since the reader in question was no longer a member and I therefore assumed that this rule did not apply. Do you think this rule covers any person who somehow manages to vote at a PCC meeting and is not a member of that PCC?
I think it would, for example, cover the situation where it is discovered part way through the year that an elected member of the PCC was not in fact entered on the electoral roll. Or it is realised that the wrong election results had been announced at the APCM. Obviously once somebody is discovered to be ineligible their PCC membership is cancelled, but it is considered to be too late to go back and review all PCC decisions that they had participated in.
But I am not a lawyer, so my interpretation may be wrong. There should be somebody in your diocesan office who can offer advice.
Thanks for a useful forum.
PCC minutes were approved at the subsequent PCC meeting, chaired by the churchwarden (as vice-chair). The vicar was also present. Does it matter whether the minutes are signed by the vicar or can the churchwarden sign as chair of the meeting?
The Church Representation Rules have nothing to say about signing the minutes. Normal practice is for the person who chairs the following meeting to sign them as evidence that the meeting has agreed them (and not that he/she personally agrees that they are accurate).
Good Morning Peter,
I started consulting this site way back when you outlined the changes in the 2006 CRR's.
Have you yet had a "sneak preview" of the new edition and can you reveal any significant changes. We are about to revise our Constitution (Diocese in Europe) and this makes substantial reference to CRR's
I did not know that a new edition had been published; I must get myself a copy. The blurb at Church House Publishing says that the changes include "revised rules for the composition of joint, team and group councils and the synodical representation of those involved in mission initiatives under Bishops' Mission Orders".
Some, but not all, of the changes can be found in this paper.
Can you please explain the rules regarding voting rights on the PCC. In partucular voting members off the PCC.
For info - this may help someone else.
CRR rules say PCC Treasurers must be either
(1) a PCC member or more than one acting jointly
(if no appointment is made, one or both of the churchwardens)
(2) by someone else who may be coopted to the PCC.
But what if the job is so complex that no one person is prepared to do it?
An actual case arose where there were several places of worship in a parish each with a DCC and local treasurer. (A Team formed in a single parish). The PCC Treasurer's role was coordination, making sure non-delegated spending was done, pulling together the data for the Parish Accounts at year-end, ensuring local treasurers did their jobs compatibly. They decided they could divide the PCC role between them, each covering different aspects. The PCC was willing for this but not all the local treasurers were willing to be PCC members, so they were neither (1) nor (2).
After consultation with the Archdeacon, he suggested the PCC make no appointment (so it falls to the wardens) and that the wardens then delegate all the work to the committee of local treasurers with the formal agreement of the PCC. This arrangement was adopted and worked well; it needs trust, and the committee always sent one of their number to report to PCC and hear/take part in discussions of financial matters.
I'm not sure what you are asking, so the following may not be the answer you are looking for.
All members of the PCC are entitled to vote. This includes, for example, co-opted and ex-officio members.
There is no procedure for voting members off the PCC.
Thanks Peter, that has sort of answered my question. Just for clarity...
If a PCC has voted to have a member removed is this a legal ? If as you say, there is no procedure to vote off a PCC member are you saying that this cannot happen.
Thanks again for you response.
PCCs have no power to vote of members. So any attempt to do so is ultra vires and of no effect.
Out parish has currently voted that the 'six year rule' in relation to Church wardens should not apply. If at the next APCM we were to vote to reinstate the rule would the 6-years begin again from 0?
The Churchwardens Measure 2001 is silent on this point since it simply says that a meeting of parishioners (not the APCM) may rescind a previous decision not to apply the six-year rule.
However, I would personally think that if it was decided that the six-year rule would start to apply again, then previous service would not count. This is what happened when the measure first came into effect.
Perhaps the best approach is to include in the resolution reinstating the rule an explicit statement that previous service does not count.
Peter said: "However, I would personally think that if it was decided that the six-year rule would start to apply again, then previous service would not count. This is what happened when the measure first came into effect."
Not really convinced of that.
Previous service didn't count towards the 6 years when the Churchwardens Measure 2001 came in because of the relevant transitional provision in Schedule 1 of the measure, which reads: "For the purposes of section 3 above no account shall be taken of any period of office commencing before the coming into force of this Measure."
The coming into force of the measure was some years ago; I really can't see how this transitional provision could be held to be applicable in the case we are discussing, when a meeting of parishioners rescinds a previous decision not to apply the 6 year rule.
Note that the 6 year rule makes a person "disqualified from being chosen for the office". I would take that as meaning that you should carefully decide the order of agenda items at the meeting of parishioners if you are going to discuss rescinding a previous decision not to apply the 6 year rule. (My interpretation only; I am not a canon lawyer; but... if you elect wardens, then reintroduce the 6 year rule, the wardens have already chosen so are not disqualified even if this is now their 7th consecutive term. But, if you vote to reintroduce the 6 year rule, prior to the election of wardens at the same meeting of parishioners, then you can't chose someone who has already served 6 consecutive terms. And the meeting has already started so you can't solicit more nominations at that point in the meeting. Tread carefully.)
I hope this makes sense!
I don't think I was totally convinced of what I wrote myself! Perhaps the answer is to be found in section 10 of the measure, which starts:
10 (1) In the carrying out of the provisions of this Measure the bishop shall have power—
(a) to make provision for any matter not herein provided for;
Can anyone confirm if there are any guidelines on the Deanery Synod report for the APCM. I know the financial accounts are on a calendar year basis and we also have the PCC Review, Fabric report on a similar basis. However, should the Deanery Synod report on meetings in the calendar year or the Synodical year? Any advice gratefully received.
Our recent PCC was the last before our APCM. The finance subcommittee had looked through the accounts in detail and they are now with the auditor. However there hadn't been time to distribute copies to the other PCC members before the meeting. The meeting was busy, so the motion to accept them (approve them? or whatever it was the PCC should do) was proposed without us going through them in detail. Most of us were happy with this in the circumstances, especially as the audited version will come to the APCM, but a couple voted against on principle. This raised the question exactly what the PCC is doing with these accounts anyway. We can't change them, the auditor will check them so what is the effect of passing or not any motion at the PCC?
At our Church we have been told that the congregation cannot know the names of the PCC nominees until the actual Annual Meeting and this concerns some of us because it gives us no chance to think about or pray about the candidates until we are presented with the voting papers at the meeting. I also understand that nominations can be received at any time up until the Annual meeting opens. In addition I am also led to believe that postal votes are allowed but that these have to be given 10 days grace after receipt. In this case if the postal votes have only been received a short while before the annual meeting then this will prevent the results of the PCC election from being given out on the night.
If these ‘rules’ are valid then I don’t think that they serve the interests of the Church. In my opinion the nominees need to be notified to the congregation (members of the electoral roll) at least by the last Sunday before the Annual Meeting.
Nominations can be taken during the meeting as well as before it.
The Annual Meeting must pass a resolution to allow postal voting, and this only comes into effect at the following year's meeting. If an election is necessary then those present at the meeting cast their votes at the meeting. Those who have applied for a postal vote (which they must do before the meeting) are sent ballot papers after the meeting and have between 7 and 14 days in which to return them. The votes are then counted.
The rules for the meeting to elect churchwardens are different. Nominations must be received before the start of that meeting and I don't think that postal voting is allowed.
At the APCM last year a resolution was passed which limited the term of office for a churchwarden to 6 years, to take effect from the date of the APCM this year, 2011. Is it possible to rescind this decision at the APCM this year to take immediate effect?
These resolutions have to be passed by the meeting of parishioners (ie the meeting that elects churchwardens) and not at the APCM (annual parochial church meeting).
Since the default position is to have a six-year limit I assume that last year's resolution was to rescind an earlier decision not to apply the limit.
So far as I am aware you can rescind last year's resolution with immediate effect, although I would advise you to do this before the election of churchwardens.
Both of our current Churchwardens have notified the PCC of their intention to stand down at the APCM. Please can you tell me what happens if no nominations or just one nomination as Churchwarden is received before the APCM. How in this case are/can the vacancies filled?
The vacancies are filled by calling another meeting of parishioners (not APCM). As the Churchwardens Measure says: "A person may be chosen to fill a casual vacancy among the churchwardens at any time."
Your current wardens remain in post until either their successors are admitted to office, or until 31 July, whichever is earlier.