Parochial church council

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Not to be confused with Parish councils in England.

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 promoting the mission of the church.

The origin of PCCs is in the old parish vestry committees, which they replaced in 1921.

Powers and duties[edit]

Two Acts of Parliament define the powers and duties of PCCs. The Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956,[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

The PCC is required to appoint a church electoral roll officer who maintains the roll of lay members entitled to take part in the annual parish meeting. Generally the roll is revised annually.[5]


Part II of the Church Representation Rules, (Synodical Government Measure 1969 No.2),[6] 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.[7] 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.

Many parish post-holders are appointed by the PCC such as sidesperson, child protection representative, treasurer, chalice bearers and sacristan. However, churchwardens must be elected at an annual meeting of parishioners pursuant to the Churchwardens Measure 2001 (No.1).[8] Church wardens are ex-officio members of the PCC and its standing committee.

Charitable status[edit]

A PCC is always a charity. Since 2008 under the Charity Commission's The Excepted Church Charity Programme,[9] 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.[10]


PCCs were set up in 1921 by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921 Act[11] as a successor to the Vestry Meetings.[12] The latter had their civil functions gradually removed during the nineteenth century in numerous acts, concluding in 1894 with the establishment of civil parishes.[13]

The subsequent 1956 and 1969 Acts now govern the establishment and function of PCCs.

See also[edit]


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