The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a legal body consisting of members of the Church, elected on an annual basis, and chaired by the vicar if one is available, or an appointed Vice-Chair if not. Churchwardens are ex officio members of the PCC. From the body of the PCC a Treasurer, Secretary and Deanery Synod member are selected.
It has responsibility for a whole range of things including the care and maintenance of the church, its contents, and the churchyard; responsibility for the conduct of the financial affairs of the parish, including deciding how the church’s money is to be spent; and various other matters. In particular it:
- co-operates with the Benefice clergy in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical;
- looks at the needs of the local community to see if the church can meet some of them;
- is consulted about major changes to the forms of worship used in the parish and about the appointment of a new incumbent; and
- is also consulted about any pastoral scheme affecting the parish.
As part of its responsibility for the financial affairs of the parish it:
- keeps proper accounting records;
- prepares annual financial statements and an annual report;
- appoints an independent examiner and facilitates the examination;
- approves the Independently Examined annual accounts; and
- presents the annual report, financial statements and independent examiner’s report to the APCM, displaying those before and after the meeting.
The current members of the PCC are Richard Shirley, Bonny Shirley, and Alex Thomas; Jackie Carlyle-Clarke, as Churchwarden, is an ex officio member of the PCC, and Lay Chair; Revd David Miell is the Chair.
MEETINGS OF THE PCC
PCCs may meet as often as they wish, but must meet at least 4 times per year.
The PCC also holds the Annual Parochial Church Meeting once a year, to present the annual report, financial statements and independent examiner’s report; to provide reports and summarise the actions of the last year while looking forward to the next. The members of the PCC are also formally elected at this meeting.
Prior to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting the Chair or Vice-Chair of the PCC also runs The Meeting of Parishioners (also referred to as the Annual Vestry Meeting or AVM) to elect Churchwardens for the coming year. Nominations for churchwardens have to have been handed to the Chair or Vice-Chair before the meeting, in writing. People whose names are on the church electoral roll are eligible to vote (whether or not they are resident in the church parish); so can people who are resident in the parish who are also on the register of local government electors. Note this is not restricted by any faith, or none.
Churchwardens are the bridge between the Church and the parish residents; they are elected annually, and the entire community are entitled to vote in these elections.
- support our local clergy, handle administrative and other tasks, and give them input as needed;
- care for the congregation and encourage people in their Christian faith
- ensure an encouraging welcome to people attending church, and endeavour to keep the church open to the public as much as possible.
- help to resolve disputes or disagreements amongst the congregation or with the parish priest, or with the local community
- prepare for and tidy up after services.
- take the collection, record the amounts and ensure their secure holding until they can be banked
During a vacancy in a parish, the churchwardens, along with the Area Dean, are responsible for ensuring that worship, pastoral care and mission continues in the parish, and for supporting any assistant clergy, lay ministers, staff and volunteers in the parish in their responsibilities.
The PCC is a charity by virtue of its objectives, which are basically the advancement of religion and the making of provision for public worship, and the members of the PCC are the trustees of the charity. PCCs are not, at present, required to register with the Charity Commission as they are classified as excepted charities by virtue of the Charities (Exception from Registration) Regulations 1996. The regulations only remove the requirement to register (and therefore submit accounts and returns to the Charity Commission) but PCCs must comply with all other aspects of charity law.
St Peter ad Vincula has a series of policies, including a Governance Handbook, Reserves Policy and guide to Charitable Giving which govern how the PCC manages its affairs and funds. If you want to see a copy then contact Jackie Carlyle-Clarke.
A History of PCCs
In the long history of the Church of England, the Parochial Church Council is a relatively recent invention. Until the early years of the 20th century the administration and finances of a parish were the legal responsibility of the incumbent and the churchwardens. The members of congregations had little say in the running of the church except in electing the churchwardens. Parochial Church Councils were first given legal status in 1919. Since then a number of Acts have defined and refined the composition, functions and rights and responsibilities of the PCC.