Parochial Church Councils & church wardens

The Parochial Church Council:- Parochial Church Councils play a vital part in decision-making at local, or parish, level. The PCC is a body corporate and is also charitable in nature. The PCC operates solely to promote its charitable purposes and members of the PCC are in a fiduciary position – rather like a trustee. This means, for example, that they must act in a way which is consistent with the aims and objects of the PCC. PCC members should not place themselves in a position where their duties to the PCC and their own personal interests come into conflict.

The law relating to PCCs has been revised and updated in the Church Representation Rules 2020. Some of the key changes include:

  • A simplification of the governance of PCCs, including new “Model Rules”
  • Provision for Joint Councils between “connected parishes”
  • Greater use of electronic communication
  • Increased flexibility over the timing of annual parochial meetings
  • There must be a majority of lay members on a PCC

Where there are two or more parishes in a single benefice, then it is possible to establish a District Church Council (a DCC).

Churchwardens:- Churchwardens are chosen at a parochial meeting which is open jointly to those persons whose names ae on the church electoral roll and also to those persons who are resident in the parish and whose names are on the register of local government electors. The normal rule is that there will be two churchwardens for each parish. They are chosen from those whose names appear on the church electoral roll. They have a special role in representing the laity (non-clergy) and are expected to cooperate and work positively with their incumbent.

Churchwardens have a wide range of duties, including:

  • A duty to preserve the property and goods of the church
  • A duty to maintain good order in the church in the churchyard, especially during services
  • A duty to collect alms and to pay over to the Treasurer

Joint Councils:- The Church Representation Rules 2020 (Section C) enable connected parishes jointly to make a scheme for the establishment of a joint council. The Church of England at the end of 2021 issued some guidance notes and a template for parishes which may be interested in setting up a joint council. The link may be found here: Joint Council Guidance   Of course no two schemes or situations will be the same and the templates will need to be adjusted to reflect the local situation. Please let the registry know if we can assist or advise further.