Parochial church council
Powers and duties
Two Acts of Parliament define the powers and duties of PCCs. The Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956, as amended, defines the principal functions and purpose of the PCC, which is the responsibility of co-operating with the incumbent (rector, vicar or priest) or priest in charge in promoting the mission of the Church in its parish. Section 6 of the Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No. 2) Act amended the list of PCC functions originally in Section 2 of the 1956 Act.
Part II of the Church Representation Rules, contained in Schedule 3 to the Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No. 2), states how a PCC should be constituted. A PCC consists of the clergy and churchwardens of the parish, together with a number of representatives of the laity elected at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting by means of being nominated and seconded at the meeting, and also being listed on the parish roll for at least six months. The incumbent is the chairman of the PCC and a lay member is appointed vice-chairman. The PCC must meet at least four times a year.
The PCC is responsible for the financial affairs of the church and the care and maintenance of the church fabric and its contents, including demanding chancel repair liability from local inhabitants. These latter responsibilities are executed by churchwardens or other volunteers. It also has a voice in the forms of service used by the church and may make representations to the bishop and deanery synod on matters affecting the welfare and pastoral care of the parish.
A PCC is always a charity. Since 2008 under the Charity Commission's The Excepted Church Charity Programme, only PCCs with a gross income of over £100,000 are required to register with the Charity Commission. The members of all PCCs, whether registered or not, are trustees.
Many parish post-holders are appointed by the PCC such as sidesperson, child protection representative, treasurer, chalice bearers and sacristan. Churchwardens are elected at a meeting of parishioners held pursuant to the Churchwardens Measure 2001 (No. 1) and are ex-officio members of the PCC and its standing committee.
PCCs were set up in 1921 by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921 Act as a successor to the vestries or Vestry Meetings, which had had their civil functions removed during the nineteenth century in numerous acts, concluding in 1894 with the establishment of civil parishes. The subsequent 1956 and 1969 Acts now govern the establishment and function of PCCs.
- Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956 (No.3)
- Church of England Governing Documents
- Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No. 2) Section 6
- Diocese of Oxford PCC support page
- Charity Commission
- The Archbishops' Council parish resources website
- House of Lords Judgment, paragraph 83
- The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich handbook
- Cornwall Council Vestry Meetings history