Vicar's Bit January 2020

New year – The Parish Church Council 100 years on 

Vicar’s bit: Revd John Longuet-Higgins

Just before Christmas 1919, a year after women were first entering parliament but 10 years before they were given the vote, lay people working with their minister, were given the right to run their church. The “Enabling Act” set up the Parish Church Council, the PCC. 

All my family voted in the recent national election. Everyone was keen to use their choice as to whom shall represent them in parliament. It’s good to be an active citizen.

To be on the PCC one needs to be 16 years old (not 18 years old), baptised into a trinitarian denomination, live in the village or at least attend church regularly, and to be on the church Electoral Roll. One person can be on two Electoral Rolls, for instance in the place they live and at the church they regularly attend.

Every year a new PCC is chosen at the Parish Church AGM, normally held after Easter. Every village church has a PCC. So the key to voting who is to represent you at the church is to be on the Electoral Roll.

28 days before the AGM, over two weeks, the old Electoral Roll is “revised”. On two Sundays during those two weeks it is announced the Electoral Roll is being “revised”. Each church has an Electoral Roll officer. They have copies of the Electoral Roll form which are available for new people joining the Electoral Roll to sign.

After the revision the revised list goes up for public display – usually in the porch. This gives every one the opportunity to correct the revised list. (For instance the Electoral Roll officer might not have realised that someone has left the village or has died). It stays there until the Parish Church AGM.

At the Annual Meeting the Churchwardens are elected “the Vestry meeting”. Then the reports of the church officers are given to those who attend. After which the new PCC is elected. Many churches have the first PCC meeting immediately after the AGM in order to choice officers: The secretary, treasurer, welcomers (sides-people) etc. and to agree dates for future meetings, held usually about four to six times a year.

One of the advantages of the Electoral Roll is that we can write to church members. This year we shall be doing so to explain how the Parish Share system works, for we realise that many people do not understand how ministry is paid for. I shall be sharing with you more on these lines in February’s magazine and website.

So here is to the next 100 years of church governance. Have a very Happy New Year.

Special Service on Saturday 1st February 4.30pm 

The Gloucester Cathedral Choir sing Candlemas Evensong for us at Hasfield Church – the first festival service at Hasfield Church in 2020.


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