Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

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APCM Guidelines

Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2018

A set of blank notices and forms to use before and at the meeting are available from this website here

Following your APCM, you should make a return to the Diocesan Office advising:

  • Who has been elected
  • The Electoral Roll figure
  • Provide data protection forms for new people

You can make this return online or via paper and post.


You can make your electoral role return online by clicking the link below:

Electoral Roll Certificate - click here to open the form

By paper and email/post

Election Results of APCM – click here to download a form to print

Electoral Roll Certificate – click here to download a form to print

If you have used paper forms please return them to Church House.We are happy to have these scanned and emailed to apcm@chichester.anglican.org or posted to: Church House, 211 New Church Road BN3 4ED

If you are appointing new people who have not already completed a data protection form, please can each of them complete a data protection form here.This can also be emailed or returned to the above address.

The Annual Meeting

It is normal for the Election of Churchwardens and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting to be held at the same time. However, the Statutory Notice for the APCM as laid down in the Rules makes no provision for the Election of Churchwardens, so there have to be two notices. The Statutory Notice as laid down by the Rules is available here; also available are a Notice and a nomination form which satisfy the Churchwardens Measure. Both Notices have to be displayed for a period of at least fourteen days including the two Sundays before the Meeting.

Note also that the Election of Churchwardens can be attended by people who are not on the Electoral Roll.They can attend and vote at the Annual Meeting of Parishioners which elect the churchwardens, but are not entitled to attend the APCM and they may be excluded from that meeting. By the same token, there is nothing to stop a parish allowing such people to attend the APCM, and this may be pastorally advantageous.

Borough or District Electoral Registration Officers are not permitted to supply a Full [unedited] Register of Electors for the purposes of determining the eligibility of anyone to vote in the Election of Churchwardens. Parishes can purchase the Edited Register, but this is by definition not complete. If there is doubt about the validity of someone’s vote, a suitable procedure could be:

  • the minister should object to the conduct of the election by show of hands, and the election should be conducted with ballot papers. Ballot papers must be signed on the back.
  • the vote should be taken and ballots counted
  • if ballots of doubtful validity will have a material effect on the result of the vote, declaration of the result should be deferred until the eligibility of the voter has been verified. This can be done by inspecting the Full Register which must be made available by the Electoral Registration Officer, usually at the Council Offices or often at main libraries.

Electing the Parochial Church Council

Some people are ex-officio members of the PCC:

  • The parish priest, and any ordained minister or deaconess or layworker licensed to the parish;
  • Any other licensed clergy in a team ministry;
  • The churchwardens (and deputy wardens, if permitted);
  • Any readers whom the Annual Meeting has appointed to the PCC;
  • Members of the Roll who are members of higher synods

Any lay member in the above list can also be a member as an elected lay representative. For example, an existing elected member could become churchwarden in the middle of their term of membership. That member would fill one of the places in the elected membership as well as an ex-officio position. However no person may have more than one vote (except the chairman when a casting vote is needed). A person who is appointed to an ex-officio position may choose to resign their elected membership and have that vacancy filled by someone else, but there is no requirement to do so.

The Church Representation Rules 2017 lay down the number of elected lay representatives on the Parochial Church Council:

Electoral Roll PCC Members
1-50 6
51-100 9
101-200 12
200 plus

The above figures apply unless an Annual Meeting in 2004 or later passed a resolution varying them. If parishes wish to vary them, examples are included below.

Whatever number is settled on for the PCC, you cannot truncate the terms of any existing members. So although any change should be completed as soon as possible — immediately if it can be — you may need to phase changes in (in which case it will all be completed in three years).

If your PCC is reduced in number

Elect a third of the new size in each year. Each newly-elected third will be smaller than the number of members who retire.

If your PCC is enlarged

The two “thirds” of the PCC continuing on the PCC and retiring in subsequent years will be too small. You need to elect a number of members equal to the new total less the number of continuing members. Then, draw lots among those just elected to find who serves for three years, and who will enlarge the other thirds to the new larger number.

Example: PCC enlarged from nine members to fifteen

Three members retire in 2017, three in 2018 and three in 2019. The number to be elected this year is five to retire in 2020, and two more for each of the other thirds of the PCC (to raise them from three to five each), making nine in total. Having elected nine members, draw lots to find the five who serve for three years, two who serve for two years and two to serve for one year. In 2018, elect the third of the PCC who retire (five members).

Amending the number of PCC members

A different number can be substituted for Rolls of up to 50 or up to 100 members; and a different increment can be specified for the larger PCCs. If a parish’s Electoral Roll might be expected to fluctuate around one of the break-points, changing the size of the PCC each year, this should certainly be considered! It should still be possible to split the PCC into thirds, so numbers should be carefully chosen. Thus the following would be valid (among lots of other alternatives):

Electoral Roll PCC Members
1-50 6
51-100 12
101-200 12+3=15
200 plus

Electoral Roll

PCC Members

1-50 9
51-100 9
101-200 9+0=9
200 plus

This second example is suitable for parishes which are expected to fluctuate around 100 or 200 members.

Any amendment in PCC numbers cannot take effect immediately; an amendment made by a resolution at an APCM cannot take effect until the next Annual Meeting.

Parishes who elect the entire PCC annually

If you did not pass a resolution in 2004 to continue with this method of electing the PCC, from 2005 you must have operated a triennial PCC where members serve for three years with a third of them retiring each year.

If you passed a resolution to elect an annual PCC in or after 2004, the decision not to introduce a triennial PCC must be reviewed at least once every six years. If the Annual Meeting does not resolve to continue with an annual PCC at the review, a triennial PCC must be introduced the following year. To introduce a triennial PCC, elect the full number of PCC members, and then draw lots to decide which third of the newly elected members will serve for one year, which third will serve for two years, and which third will serve for three years.

Changing back to an annual PCC from a triennial one is difficult as the term of office of any member cannot be truncated.

Casual vacancies

If an elected member of the PCC has not completed his or her full three year term, the vacancy may be filled by an election at the Annual Meeting. If the Annual Meeting is not held within two months of the vacancy arising, the PCC may elect a person to fill the vacancy instead. The person elected will retire at the same time as the person he or she is replacing would have retired.

The Deanery Synod

Elections to the deanery synods take place in 2017. The number of representatives was determined by referring to the Electoral Roll which was completely revised in 2013.

Figures for working out the number of lay representative from a parish to deanery synod.

Number on the electoral roll: Number of lay representatives:
1-25 1
26-100 2
101-200 3
201-300 4
301-400 5
401-500 6
501-700 7
701-900 8
901-1100 9
1101 plus

Between formal election years, vacancies for Deanery Synod representatives may be filled by appointment by the PCC.

Electoral Roll

The electoral roll is a list of names and addresses of every person who can vote in the annual parochial church meeting. The last   new roll was created in 2013. 

Anyone who wishes to join the roll needs to fill in an  application form and return it to the Electoral Roll Officer.  

Rule 2 (4)

Not less than two months before the annual parochial church meeting in the year 2007 and every succeeding sixth year notice in the form set out in section 3 of Appendix I to these rules shall be affixed by the minister or under his direction on or near the principal door of every church in the parish and every building in the parish licensed for public worship and remain so affixed for a period of not less than fourteen days. On the affixing of the notice a new roll shall be prepared.

At every service held on each of the two Sundays within the period of fourteen days beginning with the date of the affixing of the notice or, in the case of a church in which no service is held on either of those Sundays, at every service held in that church on the first Sunday after that date the person conducting the service shall inform the congregation of the preparation of the new roll.

Rule 2 (5)

 The parochial church council shall take reasonable steps to inform every person whose name is entered on the previous roll that a new roll is being prepared and that if he wishes to have his name entered on the new roll he must apply for enrolment. No such steps need be taken with respect to any person whose name could be removed from the previous roll under rule 1(9).

Rule 2 (6)

The new roll shall be prepared by entering upon it the names of persons entitled to entry under rule 1(2), and a fresh application shall be required from persons whose names were entered on the previous roll. A person whose name was so entered shall not be disqualified for entry on the new roll by reason only of his failure to comply with the conditions specified in rule 1(2)(b) and (c), if he was prevented from doing so by illness or other sufficient cause, and the circumstances shall be stated on the application form. The preparation of the new roll shall be completed not less than fifteen days or more than twenty-eight days before the annual parochial church meeting.

Rule 2 (7)

After the completion of the new roll, a copy shall be published by being exhibited continuously for not less than fourteen days before the annual parochial church meeting on or near the principal door of the parish church in such manner as the council shall appoint. During the period while the copy is so exhibited any errors and omissions in the roll may be corrected but subject thereto and to the provisions of rule 1(2) no names may be added to or removed from the roll during the period in any year between the completion of the new roll and the close of the annual parochial church meeting. On the publication of the new roll it shall come into effect and the previous roll shall cease to have effect.

Rule 2 (8)

Upon the alteration of the boundaries of any parishes the parochial church council of the parish from which any area is transferred shall inquire from the persons resident in that area whose names are entered on the roll of the parish, whether they wish to have their names transferred to the roll of the other parish. The parochial church council shall remove the names of persons answering in the affirmative from its own roll and shall inform the parochial church council of the parish in which such persons now reside, which shall enter the names on its roll without any application for enrolment being required.

Note that from 1 January 2004, no-one over 18 can be elected to the PCC until they have been members of the Roll for six months. This does not apply to young people under the age of 18, who can be elected to the PCC from their 16th birthday.

Annual Meetings

These notes interpret the Church Representation Rules and are provided for guidance, but reference should be made to the Rules as necessary.

Click here for the Church Representation Rules 2017 

The Church Representation Rules state

Rule 6(1):

In every parish there shall be held not later than the 30th April in each year the annual parochial church meeting (the “annual meeting”).

Rule 6(2):

All lay persons whose names are entered on the roll of the parish shall be entitled to attend the annual meeting and to take part in its proceedings, and no other lay person shall be so entitled.

Rule 7(1):

The annual meeting shall be convened by the minister of the parish by a notice in the form set out in section 4 of Appendix I to these rules affixed on or near to the principal door of every church in the parish, and every building licensed for public worship in the parish, for a period including the last two Sundays before the day of the meeting.

Rule 11(9):

The result of any election by an annual meeting shall be announced as soon as practicable by the person presiding over the election, and a notice of the result shall in every case be affixed on or near the principal door of every church in the parish and every building licensed for public worship in the parish, and shall bear the date on which the result is declared. The notice shall remain affixed for not less than fourteen days.

Synodical Government Measure 1969 as amended
© The Archbishops’ Council 1984-2017

The  Churchwardens Measure 2001, which came into force on 1 January 2002, states:

Section 1: 

3.    The churchwardens of every parish shall be chosen from persons who have been baptised and —

  1. whose names are on the church electoral roll of the parish; 
  2. who are actual communicants; 
  3. who are twenty-one years of age or upwards; and 
  4. who are not disqualified. [Note: download the nomination form below for details of disqualifications]

Section 4: 

1.    The churchwardens of a parish shall be chosen annually not later than the 30th April in each year. 

2.    Subject to the provisions of this Measure the churchwardens of a parish shall be elected by a meeting of the parishioners. 

3.    Candidates for election at the meeting must be nominated and seconded in writing by persons entitled to attend the meeting and each nomination paper must include a statement, signed by the person nominated, to the effect that that person is willing to serve as a churchwarden and is not disqualified. 

4.    A nomination shall not be valid unless — 

  1. the nomination paper is received by the minister of the parish before the commencement of the meeting; and 
  2. in the case of a person who is not [normally] qualified, the bishop’s permission was given ... before the nomination paper is received by the minister of the parish. 

5.    If it appears to the minister of the parish that the election of any particular person nominated might give rise to serious difficulties between the minister and that person in the carrying out of their respective functions the minister may, before the election is conducted, make a statement to the effect that only one churchwarden is to be elected by the meeting. In that event one churchwarden shall be appointed by the minister from among the persons nominated, the name of the person so appointed being announced before the election is conducted, and the other shall then be elected by the meeting.

Section 5: 

1.    A joint meeting of — 

  1. the persons whose names are entered on the church electoral roll of the parish; and 
  2. the persons resident in the parish whose names are entered on a register of local government electors by reason of such residence,

shall be deemed to be a meeting of the parishioners for the purposes of this Measure.

© Crown Copyright 2001


The Church of England, working jointly with the Charity Commission has produced an 8 page booklet for PCC members as an introduction to their role as Trustees. You can access a pdf by clicking here.