Parochial church council

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A parochial church council (PCC) is the executive committee of a Church of England parish and consists of clergy and churchwardens of the parish, together with representatives of the laity.

Legally the council is responsible for the financial affairs of the church parish and the maintenance of its assets, such as churches and church halls, and for promoting the mission of the church.

History[edit]

PCCs were created by the Rules for the Representation of the Laity scheduled to the Constitution of the former National Assembly of the Church of England (or Church Assembly), which was adopted by the Convocations of Canterbury and York in 1919.[1] Most of the remaining functions of the vestry meetings of parishes, and of the churchwardens of parishes, (i.e. those which had not been transferred to parish councils and other local authorities in the 19th century) were transferred to the PCCs by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921.[2] (Measures passed by the Church Assembly, now replaced by the General Synod of the Church of England, are given the force of law by Act of Parliament, the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919.[3])

PCCs are now constituted under the Church Representation Rules[4] (Schedule 3 to the Synodical Government Measure 1969).[5]

Powers and duties[edit]

The powers and duties of PCCs are laid down by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956.[6] They include the duty to co-operate with the incumbent (rector or vicar) or priest in charge of the parish in promoting the mission of the Church in the parish.

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.[7]

The PCC is required to appoint a church electoral roll officer who maintains the church electoral roll of lay members entitled to take part in the annual parochial church meeting. A new roll must be prepared every 6 years, and revised annually.[8]

Membership[edit]

The constitution of a PCC is prescribed by the Church Representation Rules, rule 14.[9]

A PCC consists of (i) the clergy of the parish, (ii) certain lay readers and other lay workers licensed to the parish, (iii) the churchwardens of the parish, (iv) members of the General Synod, diocesan synod or deanery synod who are on the roll of the parish, and (v) a number of representatives of the laity elected at the annual parochial church meeting. To be qualified for election as a representative of the laity, a person must be of the laity, an actual communicant, aged 16 or over, and not disqualified (e.g. by conviction of certain offences, disqualification as a company director or entry on a "barred list"), and must be on the church electoral roll (and, unless under 18, have been on the roll for at least 6 months); he or she must be nominated and seconded by persons on the roll, and be willing to serve.

Many parish post-holders are appointed by the PCC such as the secretary, treasurer and sidesmen. However, churchwardens must be elected at an annual meeting of parishioners pursuant to the Churchwardens Measure 2001.[10] Church wardens are ex-officio members of the PCC and its standing committee.

Charitable status[edit]

A PCC is always a charity. Under the Charities (Exception from Registration) Regulations 1996[11] a PCC is not required to register with the Charity Commission; this exception will expire on 31 March 2021.[12] The members of all PCCs, whether registered or not, are trustees.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halsbury's Statutes of England (1929) vol.6 p.59.
  2. ^ 11 & 12 Geo.5 No.1
  3. ^ 9 & 10. Geo.5 c.76
  4. ^ "Church Representation Rules". The Church of England. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Synodical Government Measure 1969 No. 2". www.legislation.gov.uk. 25 July 1969. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  6. ^ 4 & 5 Eliz.2 No.3
  7. ^ Diocese of Oxford PCC support page
  8. ^ Church Representation Rules [1], rule 1
  9. ^ "Church Representation Rules - Part II". The Church of England. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Churchwardens Measure 2001". www.legislation.gov.uk. 10 April 2001. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "The Charities (Exception from Registration) Regulations 1996". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "The Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2014". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "The PCC as a Charity – Resources to help you". www.parishresources.org.uk. Archbishops' Council. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • A Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors, Kenneth MacMorran & Timothy J Briden, London : Mowbray, 1996. ISBN 978-1-4411-5474-3
  • The Churchwarden's Handbook: A Practical Guide, Ian Russell, Stowmarket: Kevin Mayhew, 2000. ISBN 978-1-84003-534-6
  • PCC Tonight, James Lawrence, Coventry: CPAS 2015