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

Annual Meetings, Elections etc. in 2020:- On 30 July 2020, the Bishop of Hereford, the Right Reverend Richard Jackson, gave directions permitting the holding of meetings of parishioners to choose churchwardens and the holding of annual parochial church meetings "virtually" by electronic, digital, virtual or telephonic means, and he further provided that a person is to be regarded as present at such meetings if he or she is able to hear and to be heard, and where practicable, to see and be seen by the other persons present. A full copy may be requested from the Diocesan Registry. The direction (made pursuant to section 10(1) (c) Churchwardens Measure 2001 and rule 78 (5) (b) of the Church Representation Rules) remains in force until 20 June 2021 or until revoked (if sooner).