The Annual Parochial Church Meeting is a major event in the parochial calendar. This page summarises the guidance provided in Part 9 of the Church of England’s Church Representation Rules pertaining to this event. See below a basic summary of the key dates and deadlines, as well as all the forms you should need.
Any questions or comments can be directed to the Database Administrator at Church House.
Arrangements for 2023 Meeting
The legal document signed by the Bishop, enabling APCMs and AMPs, as well as meetings of Deanery Synods and PCCs, to be held electronically, remains in effect this year. So decisions taken at those meetings have the same force as if taken at a physical meeting.
A copy of that document can be found here; however, it is strongly encouraged that where possible you hold your APCM as an in person meeting this year, reserving online access only for people who are physically unable to attend. The APCM had, until recent years, always been considered an important opportunity to bring people together in person, akin to the importance of in person worship at church.
If you do decide to hold an electronic or hybrid meeting, please follow this guidance.
Lay Elections to Deanery Synods 2023
Every parish needs to elect new lay representatives to the deanery synod at the annual parochial church meeting (APCM) in 2023. The newly elected representatives will hold office for a term of three years beginning on 1 July 2023. The term of office of the existing elected lay representatives to the deanery synod will expire on 30 June 2023. Therefore, all existing elected Deanery Synod lay representatives need to be re-elected this year at the APCM if they wish to continue to serve from 1 July 2023 onwards. For details on how many elected lay representatives your parish is entitled to for this new term, please click here.
Forms and Timeline
- The Meeting must be held no later than the 31st May
- The revision of the electoral roll must begin at the latest 6 weeks before the Meeting, and preferably 8 weeks before. Further information is available here.
- For a period including the last two Sundays before the day of the Meeting, a Notice (Word, PDF) announcing the date of the Meeting should be affixed on or near the principal door of every church and licensed public worship building in the parish. You may like to display the notice on your parish website in addition.
- The Notice for the APCM makes no provision for the Election of Churchwardens, as this is considered a different event (even though it is normal for this Election to be held at the same time as the APCM). Therefore, a Notice announcing the date of the Election of Churchwardens (Word, PDF) must also be put in place.
- The financial statements of the PCC for the previous year must be published, whether electronically or otherwise, for at least 7 days before the Meeting.
- All new Candidates to be PCC members, Churchwardens, and Deanery Synod members should provide Nomination Forms to their Parishes. These forms include a declaration for new PCC members, which is comprised of a confirmation of eligibility (i.e. non-disqualification under charity law), and a Fit and Proper Person declaration. These forms are available as follows:
- After the APCM, a notice of the result of the elections must be displayed for at least 14 days, in the same places as the notices announcing the date of the meeting. You can use the APCM Notification of Election Results Form (Word, PDF).
- At the first PCC meeting after the APCM, the PCC should appoint a Secretary, a Treasurer, an Electoral Roll Officer, and a Safeguarding Officer. A short PCC meeting with these appointments as the only agenda item is often held immediately after the APCM for this purpose.
- Please complete the APCM Return and submit it to Church House as soon as possible after the meeting, and by no later than the 14th June. Where possible, please complete the APCM return directly into the database via the link sent to you by email (these guidelines can be found here).
- A copy of the annual report and financial statements must also be sent to Church House within 28 days of the meeting. Please send them to the Database Administrator.
- Anybody elected as Churchwarden, Deanery Synod Representative, PCC Secretary, PCC Treasurer, Electoral Roll Officer, or Safeguarding Officer who has not already done so must fill in a Data Consent Form. This form serves the dual purpose of making sure we at the Diocese conform to the new GDPR regulations whilst also providing us with the information we need to create a contact record for you on the diocesan database. This contact record will be used to keep you informed of news and information relating to your new role.
Online forms are beneficial in that they allow data to be checked for completeness before submission. In past years, many APCM Returns have come to us unclear or incomplete, requiring us to chase parishes for further information. An online form can be made much clearer on what information we need and in what format, and will not allow submission of an incomplete form. Printing and postage costs and time will also be saved with the adoption of online forms. For questions, feedback, or anything else, please contact the Database Administrator.
If you are unable to use the online form, the APCM Return can be found in printable here ( Word / PDF). The Data Consent Form can be found in printable form here. Please post these to FAO Database Administrator, Church House, 211 New Church Road BN3 4ED, or scan and email them to the Database Administrator.
Summary of the Church Representation Rules
Attendance at the Meeting
- All Lay persons whose names are on the Electoral Roll are entitled to attend the Annual Parochial Church Meeting and take part, and no other Lay persons are so entitled. Note however that anyone resident in the Parish whose name is entered on a register of local government electors, as well as anyone whose name is on the Electoral Roll, is entitled to attend the Annual Meeting of Parishioners at which the Churchwardens are elected. The AMP is usually held immediately before the APCM
- Lay persons not on the Electoral Roll can attend at the discretion of the conveners of the Meeting
- A priest or member of clergy (as well as members of a team/group ministry) is entitled to attend if they are licensed to the benefice to which the parish belongs, if they are resident in the parish and not licensed elsewhere, if the PCC has declared them to be a regular worshipper, or if they are a co-opted member of the PCC
The Chairman of the Meeting
- The minister of the parish shall be the chairman of the council and preside over the Meeting
- In a Team Ministry, the Vicar who is entitled to preside over the meeting by the parish scheme or bishop’s licence, shall preside
- If a minister is not present or is unable to attend, the Vice-Chairman of the PCC shall preside
- If neither are present, a chairman chosen by the PCC, or in the case of a Team Ministry, the Rector, shall preside
- The Chairman has the casting vote in the case of an equal division of votes, but a clerical Chairman has no vote in the election of parochial representatives of the laity. If there is an equal division of votes in an election of a lay representative, the decision shall be taken by lot
The Business of the Meeting
- A report on the changes to the Electoral Roll (an up to date copy of the Roll is to be present for inspection at the Meeting)
- A report on the proceedings of the PCC and activities of the parish (to include a statement as to whether the PCC has complied with its duty to have regard to House of Bishops’ guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults)
- A report on the fabric of the church
- A report of the proceedings of the deanery synod
- The financial statements of the PCC for the year ending on the 31/12 before the meeting
- These financial statements are to be independently examined/audited, approved and signed by the Chairman, are to be published, electronically or otherwise, for at least 7 days before the Meeting
- The financial statements are to be sent to the Diocesan Board of Finance within 28 days of the conclusion of the Meeting
- Deanery Synod Laity representatives are to be elected every 3rd year. (The next elections are in 2023, and casual vacancies before then may be filled either by election at the APCM or by appointment by the PCC)
- PCC Laity representatives and independent examiners/auditors are to be elected (sidespeople are now appointed by the PCC, not the APCM)
- Any person entitled to attend the Meeting may ask questions and bring about discussions in the Meeting
- The PCC Secretary shall act as Clerk and record minutes
Qualification for Election
- An individual shall be qualified for election to the PCC if:
- Their name is on the Electoral Roll, and unless they are under 18 years of age at the time of the Meeting, they have been on the Electoral Roll for at least the preceding 6 months
- They are an actual communicant (i.e. have received communion at least 3 times in the last 12 months)
- They are over 16 years of age (Churchwardens must be over 21 years of age)
Conduct of Elections
- All candidates for election must be nominated and seconded by persons entitled to attend the Meeting
- Nomination and Seconding can be conducted at the meeting or before the meeting in writing
- If the number of nominated candidates is not greater than the number of seats to be filled, those nominated shall be elected to those seats
- If more candidates are nominated than there are seats, then elections shall take place at the Meeting
- Votes shall be given by a show of hands, or if anyone objects to this, by voting papers signed on the back by the person casting the vote
- If at least one tenth of those entitled to vote object to either of these voting methods, voting shall take place using numbered voting papers instead
- The result of any election shall be announced as soon as is practicable by the Chairman, and a notice of the result displaying the date of the election shall be displayed at the principal door of every building licensed for worship in the parish for a period of at least 14 days after the Meeting
- The names and addresses of Laity Representatives to the Deanery Synod shall be sent to the deanery secretary by the PCC Secretary
The above is a summary of part 9 of the Church of England's Church Representation Rules, which are available here. Any queries or comments can be directed to the Database Administrator.