Parish Governance

Members of a Parochial Church Council (PCC) are the governing body for their parish church(es) and as such, they are entrusted with several legal responsibilities.  

The resources and training below aims to help parish officers perform their duties. 

Training and support

• The Parish Reference Manual is a key resource and provides summary information on legal requirements and good practice for PCCs, churchwardens and incumbents.
• The Area Offices provide training for Churchwardens as part of the Archdeacons’ Visitations.
 
PCC statutory details

• They were first created by the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 and in 1921 PCCs replaced vestry meetings for most purposes.
• Their composition is regulated by the Church Representation Rules, which are created and amended under the Synodical Government Measure 1969.
• Their powers and duties are to be found mainly in those rules, in the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956 and elsewhere, piecemeal, in other statutes, measures and canons.
• Although PCCs have identifiable constitutional features, they do not individually have their own constitutions. The members of a PCC are treated as Charity Trustees for most of the purposes of charities legislation.
• Those PCCs with gross annual income over £100,000 must register with the Charity Commission and will have a charity number.
• The proceedings of all PCCs are required to be conducted in accordance with charity legislation and must be minuted.
 
 
PCC Membership
The detailed wording may be found in Church Representation Rules, but for most purposes, the membership of a PCC will be:
• All clergy beneficed in or licensed to the parish.
• If the parish is part of a team ministry, then all the clergy members of the team of that ministry.
• Any deaconess or lay worker licensed to the parish.
• The churchwardens, (also the deputy churchwardens of any districts legally defined by Scheme within the parish).
• If the PCC so determines, any Licensed Lay Ministers whose names are on the church electoral roll of the parish.
• All persons whose names are on the church electoral roll of the parish and who are lay members of the Deanery Synod, Diocesan Synod or General Synod.
• Elected representatives of the laity:
 - Six – where there are 50 or fewer names on the church electoral roll
 - Nine – where there are 100 or fewer names on the church electoral roll
 - A further three representatives for every 100 (or part thereof) names on the electoral roll up to a maximum of 15.
• Co-opted members up to one fifth of the number of the lay representation or two, whichever number is greater. These can be either lay or clergy.
 
 
Annual Parochial Church Meetings (APCMs)

See all the resources and information to help you prepare for your APCM. (Parish Resources website)
 
 
Data Protection

PCCs must be aware of data protection and GDPR regulations.Visit the Documents section of the site to download and read the latest information.
 
 
For PCC Treasurers

Financial Fraud is a significant threat to parish finances. For the latest update on tackling financial fraud, read this.

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS)

The latest guidance is available on the Church of England website.

Key points to note are:
• Under the Communities Buildings Element of the scheme, parishes need not worry about 10 people being present in a service (this has been the case since 6th April 2017).
• Wall-safe donations count for all churches as will donations received outside of the building.
• Contactless donations can be included.
• Qualification requirements have been simplified.
 
 
For Churchwardens

Churchwardens play a vital role in the health of our church communities. It is an important job, and at times, a demanding one. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please contact your area office, listed below.

2022 Visitation documents
 
Pastoral organisation

The Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC) is responsible for the pastoral supervision of the diocese and the organisation of parishes and benefices.

It is responsible for issuing formal proposals for such matters as:
• the union of parishes and/or benefices
• the creation of team and group ministries
• alteration of parish/deanery /archdeaconry or diocesan boundaries
• changes to parish or benefice names
• appropriation Schemes
• suspension of presentation
• Bishops Mission Orders
• possible church closures and church sharing agreements
 
Further information about these can be found in Frequently asked questions about Pastoral matters.

The process of making pastoral changes is a thorough one. First, those affected are consulted at a local level, and then the public is invited to comment on proposals through the Church Commissioners website, which lists details of ongoing consultations in this and every other diocese.
 
• To download a Vacancy Pack, visit the Churchwardens' page.
• The Pastoral Measure Code of Practice may be accessed at the Church Commissioners, Pastoral Division website.
 
 
Parish Buying

Parish Buying is a website that offers churches discounts on all sorts of church utilities, equipment and furnishings. You have to register first, but once you have an account, there are some good deals. Register here if you haven’t already.
 

Contact the Governance and Pastoral Planning Team

Get in touch

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