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Parochial Church Councils

by Michael Ford last modified 08 Dec, 2015 12:30 PM

Representation in the Church

The way the Church is governed, and the structures of the Church, are now mainly set up under the Synodical Government laws.

  • At the national level the main body is the General Synod, with the Archbishop’s Council operating when the Synod is not in session.
  • Then at Diocesan level there is the Diocesan Synod, and when it is not in session the Bishop’s Council operates.
  • As an intermediate body there is the Deanery Synod of each deanery, and at parochial (parish) level, the Parochial Church Councils (PCCs) and their Standing Committee.

A PCC is a legal body and in any parish is for many purposes the body that “is” the parish and has the responsibilities for its management and administration.

PCCs were created by statute, the relevant laws starting in 1919 and in 1921 under the present titles. They are regulated now by the Church Representation Rules, which are part of English Law, and which set out most of the day-to-day powers, duties and procedures of PCCs (among other things). The rest of the law about PCCs is in various other statutes, measures and Canons. Their Constitution is the sum total of what is in those laws.

The members of a PCC are treated as Charity Trustees for most of the purposes of charities legislation, and their proceedings are required to be conducted in accordance with the rules and minuted.  Membership of PCCs is restricted to those on the electoral roll of the parish.

The members of PCCs are elected by the local congregations (more precisely those who are on the relevant electoral roll) every year, and the procedures can be tricky to interpret in some cases. The clergy, wardens and laity can get help when necessary in interpreting the Rules by speaking to the Registry.

PCCs have representative membership of the Deanery Synod of their own Deanery, and the Deanery Synod elects members of the Diocesan Synod and of the General Synod.  Reporting back to the electing body is an important part of the role of the representatives, in the same way that members of PCCs are expected to be a proper conduit for information to and from the congregation.

The Church Representation Rules change from time to time, and over the years it is recognized that they have become somewhat difficult to follow and read with understanding. This can present difficulties at times of elections and of particularly important PCC meetings. Until the forthcoming clarification works are complete, it may be useful to check their meaning with the Registry whenever problems arise, and help with the interpretation of them will always be available from the Registry staff.

Contacting the Registry
registry@salisbury.anglican.org 
01722 432390
Fax: 01722 411566

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