Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

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Parochial Church Council

Please note that the information regarding the renewal of the Electoral Roll this year has moved to the Electoral Roll page (access here).

What is a PCC?

A parochial church council (PCC) is the executive committee of a Church of England parish. Legally the council is responsible for the financial affairs of the parish and the maintenance of its assets, such as churches and church halls, but the council also acts as a focus for church affairs in the parish.

General Guidance

Below is a summary of the most relevant parts of the Church Representation Rules pertaining to PCCs. These rules are available in full here, and contain supplementary information on such subjects as Team and Group Ministry, casual vacancies, and co-opted members of the PCC.

Membership

Some roles afford ex-officio PCC membership:

  • The minister of the Parish or of the Benefice of which the Parish is part
  • All other clergy beneficed in or licensed to that Benefice
  • All members of a team ministry, if one has been established in the Benefice
  • Lay workers licensed to the Parish
  • Churchwardens
  • Licensed Readers licensed to the Parish, if the PCC has decided that they should be members
  • Lay members of the Deanery, Diocesan, and General Synod

The rest of the members of the PCC are comprised of elected Representatives of the Laity, and co-opted PCC members. The number of these that should be present on a PCC is determined by the number of people who are on the parish’s Electoral Roll:

  • Up to 50 names on the Electoral Roll – 6 Representatives of the Laity
  • Between 51 and 100 names on the Electoral Roll – 9 Representatives of the Laity
  • Between 101 and 200 names on the Electoral Roll – 12 Representatives of the Laity
  • More than 200 names on the Electoral Roll – 15 Representatives of the Laity

The number of co-opted members of the PCC should not exceed one fifth of the number of Representatives of the Laity, or 2 members, whichever number is greater.

Elections for Churchwardens are conducted at the Annual Meeting of Prishioners (usually held immediately before the Annual Parochial Church Meeting). Elections for representatives of the Laity on the PCC are onducted at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. Elections for lay representatives on Deanery Synod are held every 3 years at APCM, and 2020 will be the next election year. Please see the APCM page (here) and the Electoral Roll page (here) for more information.

Loss of Membership

A person can lose their membership of the PCC under certain conditions:

  • If their name is removed from the Parish’s Electoral Roll. This may happen under several circumstances;
     
    • If a person dies
    • If a person is ordained as a Minister
    • If a person asks to be removed from the Electoral Roll
    • If a person ceases to reside in the Parish and does not habitually attend worship in the Parish for at least 6 months (unless they are prevented from so attending by a sufficient cause)
    • If a person was not entitled to have their name entered on the Electoral Roll when it was entered
       
  • If someone fails to enrol on the new Roll when it is being revised
  • If someone is disqualified from being on the Electoral Roll

Term of Office

Churchwardens serve for one year (with the possibility of being re-elected). They may serve for a maximum of 6 years without a break, unless the Annual Meeting of Parishioners passes a resolution to lift this restriction.

Deanery Synod representatives serve for 3 years, from 01/06 in the year they are elected to 31/05 3 years later.

Representatives of the Laity cannot serve on the PCC for more than 3 consecutive years without being re-elected. This means that ideally, one third of Laity Representatives will retire from the post each year (with the possibility of being re-elected, unless the APCM has limited the number of terms a representative can serve). APCMs can also resolve that representatives serve for only one year, with all elected members needing to be re-elected every year. This decision must be reviewed every 6 years.

Where a PCC member or Deanery Synod representative does not serve their full term, the casual vacancy shall be filled by election by the PCC within a period of 6 months, unless a period of 2 months or less remains until the next APCM, in which case the vacancy shall be filled by the normal APCM election process. Members who fill casual vacancies serve for the remainder of the term of the person whose place they fill.

Charitable status

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. All members, whether elected, ex-officio, or co-opted, of all PCCs, whether registered or not, are trustees.

History

PCCs were set up in 1921 by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921 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. Subsequent Measures in 1956 and 1969 now govern the establishment and function of PCCs.