Thread: Churchwardens electoral roll etc. Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Wildcat45 (# 18875) on :
 
Hi,

I've been in my church a year now and I am getting interested in how stuff works.

By attending am I on the electoral roll? Does this give me the opportunity to vote on stuff? If so, what?

Does someone have to live in a parish to be on the roll or to be a churchwarden? I ask as I have a church I like 20 miles from me. I have personal connections with it from childhood and may in future decide to attend there and who knows, get more involved.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Wildcat45:
Hi,

I've been in my church a year now and I am getting interested in how stuff works.

By attending am I on the electoral roll? Does this give me the opportunity to vote on stuff? If so, what?

Not automatically. You normally have to get the electoral role officer to add you, which requires filling in a form.
Being on the electoral role you get to vote at the two parts of the AGM (which is why they tend to only worry about it then). You get to vote for lay members of the PCC, officers, and church wardens and that's about it. The church may also have to pay more to the diocese on the basis that you must be putting in the collection plate.

If you live in the Parish, requirements are much milder.

Being on the electoral role isn't necessary for getting involved. Particularly for the ways that make sense for someone new.
 
Posted by Stephen (# 40) on :
 
No doubt someone better informed will be along later, but as I understand it, if you attend and live in the parish you have a right to go on the electoral roll but it is not automatic - a parish will revise the roll anyway every so often. It's just a question of filling out a form which you can get from the vicar or ( I think) churchwarden. If you do not live in a parish then you have to be habitually attending the parish for a period of 6 months and then you can apply to go on the roll. At least this is the case in Wales but I'm pretty sure it's the same in England. Churchwardens are of two kinds - Vicar's and Peoples. The Vicar's Warden is appointed by the Vicar or Rector the People's Warden is elected by the congregation or that part of the congregation on the electoral roll usually at what used to be called Easter Vestry but now is referred to usually as Annual Church (or Parish) Meeting . At least that seems the situation this neck of the words but I'm fairly sure that things are similar in England. It's fairly important to get on the electoral roll particularly if you want to put yourself forward for anything - eg serve on the parish council etc
Hope that helps
 
Posted by Stephen (# 40) on :
 
Oh and as Jay-Emm says ( crosspost) you don't need to go on the roll to get involved such as to read the lessons or serve or just generally help out
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
I was the election officer for our last PCC election and know far more about this than I need.

Everyone who lives in the parish can vote for the churchwardens (as they are quasi-civil authority, the CofE being the state church).

Everyone who habitually attends the parish church (or one of the CofE churches in the parish - we have two) is eligible to join the Electoral Roll.

Joining the Roll allows you to vote in both the churchwarden elections and the election for the lay members of the PCC. It also allows you to stand for the PCC and a churchwardenship.

The parish share (amount of money sent to the diocese) is based on the size of the electoral roll. The number of lay members on the PCC is also based on the size of the roll.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
And I'm pretty sure Stephen is right when he says the you also ought to be on the roll to stand for the roles assigned at the AGM. However none of these roles are really suitable for the first year [Being on the PCC can be, but don't be surprised if you give the wrong impression].

[ 29. December 2017, 22:56: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]
 
Posted by Stephen (# 40) on :
 
Oh, agreed - being churchwarden is usually one hell of a big responsibility. It's probably better to take things slow at first.....
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
Depending on the size and age (relative to you) of the congregation don't be surprised if someone asks you to be on the PCC within a year of active participation. It's happened to me before. Small congregations have more jobs that people of sound enough mind and body to do them.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
Woah. I've never really thought much about this aspect of the CoE at all.

What's the extent of a PCC's powers? How does it fit with the diocese's powers? And isn't this a huge difference from how Catholic churches are run? In fact, how is a Catholic parish run?
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
As everyone has already said, except that although in theory there is a Vicar's Warden and a Peoples' Warden, everywhere I've been in the last 40+ years, both wardens have been elected.

Eutychus, in day to day practice, most CofE parishes are surprisingly congregational. The system is designed to work on the basis that the vicar, the wardens and the PCC all co-operate. That is the recipe for a happy parish, and everybody knows that. It is if they don't work well that things start to come badly unstuck, usually quite quickly.

I've no idea how the RCC runs its affairs. I suppose I've always assumed what Father X says, goes, and it's the job of everyone else to do as he says. But it's possible it's totally different on the ground.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
At the risk of sounding horribly sexist, I suspect that a lot of things in RC churches are run by a bevy of Good Ladies Of The Parish.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
The PCC of a CofE church approves most of the priest in charge's actions - so, for example:
The priest-in-charge advises the PCC. All activities have to report to the PCC and APCM - annual parish council meeting.

Diocesan representatives are elected at the APCM and attend the PCC.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
What about property ownership and rights? That tends to be where semblances of congregationalism often founder in many contexts, in my experience: the congregation suddenly realise they do not own the facility they invest in (in both tangible and intangible ways).

As I understand it the CoE owns its historic properties at a national level... what about new plants? Could a PCC ever wrest control of real estate? And again, what's the situation in UK RC churches? So many questions...
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
For CofE traditional churches property rights are discussed at diocesan and higher levels. That all comes under legal acts and instruments that have to be passed by the relevant PCCs, teams, diocese and then the Church Commissioners acting on behalf of the Government.

When we changed team boundaries and rewrote the team instrument, to move one church from a team of four churches to create two teams, one of two churches and the other of three churches, that had to be approved at all those levels. We (I) rewrote the team instrument from all the meetings of the parish and team councils, checked it against the relevant laws, had it agreed by all the parish and team councils (formally voted through at meetings). It then went to the diocesan legal department for checking and correcting. We didn't get it back for further approval, so it then went to the church commissioners for approval and agreement.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
and then the Church Commissioners acting on behalf of the Government.

[Paranoid]

The degree of difficulty I have getting my head round this concept makes me realise just how un-British I am.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
One of the big problems for changes in the CofE is that they have to be enacted in Canon Law, which, in practice now, means Parliament has to pass an Act, e.g. The Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure 2014
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
and then the Church Commissioners acting on behalf of the Government.

[Paranoid]

The degree of difficulty I have getting my head round this concept makes me realise just how un-British I am.

As opposed to a country where historic churches are owned by the state, and getting repairs done requires a petition to the mairie? [Razz]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
[QB] What about property ownership and rights? That tends to be where semblances of congregationalism often founder in many contexts, in my experience: the congregation suddenly realise they do not own the facility they invest in (in both tangible and intangible ways).

During an interregnum, the wardens have some kind of legal responsibility for the fabric of the building as well as a role in the choosing of the next vicar IIRC. But exactly the balance of who actually has the final word on nominations has never been clear to me - it seems to be a messy negotiation between the wardens, PCC, diocese and sponsor (who may or may not be the bishop, archbishop or someone else).

My observation is that wardens have a lot more legal rights and responsibilities than most people appreciate.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
[Paranoid]

The degree of difficulty I have getting my head round this concept makes me realise just how un-British I am.

I don't think this makes you un-British, there are a huge number of Brits who have no reason to wonder how the machinations of the Anglican church works. In quite large parts of these isles, the Church of England has no authority and even in England I doubt than very many know or care to find out how it works.

The complication is that for historical reasons, the Anglican church in England has a structure and legislation which is intertwined with the law-making establishment. So there are political and legal anoraks that have slightly more knowledge about it than maybe one might expect.

[ 30. December 2017, 10:43: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
My observation is that wardens have a lot more legal rights and responsibilities than most people appreciate.

That's just one of the things this discussion has made me aware of, and got me wondering about how different it is from the RC (and incidentally what unexpected surprises people leaving the CoE over DH issues to join the RCs might encounter).

Ricardus, I take your point but also understand you to be retorting somewhat in jest: responsibility for heritage infrastructure like cathedrals is a bit different from deciding internal affairs such as those CK refers o, or what French law refers to in this respect as l'organisation du service ("how religion does it stuff") - a hot topic in prison chaplaincy right now over here.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
That's just one of the things this discussion has made me aware of, and got me wondering about how different it is from the RC (and incidentally what unexpected surprises people leaving the CoE over DH issues to join the RCs might encounter).


Well I think the most simple division in religion in England is that between Anglican and everyone else. Even if there is an equivalent of a churchwarden in a RCC church, mosque, temple or whatever, they don't have a status in law in the sense that these positions have in the Anglican church.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland afaiu there is no special status for any church's officers. In Wales I think there is still some inherited legal status for the Anglican setup, but I'm not sure whether the status of churchwardens is still in the applicable law here.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
On the other hand, non-Anglican religious officers may have legal status under other laws, such as charity law for example.

Personally I regard the legal status of the Church of England as bizarre and arcane. If everyone else manages without needing special mentions in law, I can't see why a minority church in England needs it.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
My observation is that wardens have a lot more legal rights and responsibilities than most people appreciate.

True, although in congregationalist set-ups (eg Baptist) Deacons/Elders are de facto "managing charity trustees" and are bound by that set of laws and requirements (unless the church isn't a charity, but most are).

[ 30. December 2017, 11:04: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan: True, although in congregationalist set-ups (eg Baptist) Deacons/Elders are de facto "managing charity trustees" and are bound by that set of laws and requirements (unless the church isn't a charity, but most are).
Yes. The difference is that "churchwarden" is a specific role in law whereas the equivalent in every other religious group is because they are "trustees", which obviously also applies to many other charitable roles outside of religious setups.

IIRC the only other religious roles mentioned in law (except Minister of Religion) are those relating to Quaker and Jewish marriage.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan: True, although in congregationalist set-ups (eg Baptist) Deacons/Elders are de facto "managing charity trustees" and are bound by that set of laws and requirements (unless the church isn't a charity, but most are).
Yes. The difference is that "churchwarden" is a specific role in law whereas the equivalent in every other religious group is because they are "trustees", which obviously also applies to many other charitable roles outside of religious setups.
You're right of course - it's just that many folk don't realise that they're trustees. The URC may be more tightly bound as it is subject to the provision of three specific Acts of Parliament from 1972 onwards. Interestingly I believe that it is Elders (and not Ministers) who are responsible for the (?correct) maintenance of public worship.

[ 30. December 2017, 11:23: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
All PCC members are trustees too if the church is registered as a charity.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
The question is trustees of what: again, I think there are many potential pitfalls around who actually owns the real estate.

(At least one denomination I know well over here seems, if you look closely enough, to function more as a real estate company than as a church. Certainly their propensity to "adopt" independent fellowships seems to be highly influenced by whether the latter own their place of worship).
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Perhaps I have unwittingly led us away from the point of the OP? [Hot and Hormonal]
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
The URC may be more tightly bound as it is subject to the provision of three specific Acts of Parliament from 1972 onwards.

Anyone who wants to know about the official structure of the URC need to look no further than The Manual, The official structure and the imminent practiced structure are related but not identical. The imminent is is subject to current practice and local tradition. Current practice is that Synods are coterminous with District Meetings.

Trusteeship is probably more variable in the URC due to our United nature than in other traditions. For instance while it is true anyone on a Methodist Council is a Trustee, it is not true that all serving Elders in the URC are Trustees. In my home congregation Trustees are appointed separately. Equally often Trustee-ship is spread between Synod and Eldership but not always.

quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Interestingly I believe that it is Elders (and not Ministers) who are responsible for the (?correct) maintenance of public worship.

Right the relevant part is
quote:

From the URC Manual Section B
2.(2) Elders Meeting
The elders' meeting of the Local Church shall consist of the minister(s) and the elders elected by the Church Meeting of such Local Church and shall exercise oversight of the spiritual life of the Local Church. The elders’ meeting shall serve the Local Church and by its relation to the wider councils of the United Reformed Church represent the whole Church to the Local Church. The minister, or one of the ministers, or during a pastoral vacancy the Interim Moderator appointed as hereinafter provided, shall normally preside over the elders’ meeting.

Functions:
...

(ii) to see that public worship is regularly offered and the sacraments are duly administered, and generally to promote the welfare of the congregation;
(iii)
to ensure pastoral care of the congregation, in which the minister is joined by elders having particular responsibility for groups of members;
...
(v) to arrange for pulpit supply in a vacancy;
...

The elders meeting is not a body separate from the minister but the minister is a member and has specific role therein. During an incumbency it is normal for Elders Meeting to delegate that responsibility to the minister except where ministry is shared when the minister is only responsible for that worship they are contracted for but may well play a role in developing worship and the local leadership within worship even when they are not responsible for individual acts. During an interregnum it is usual for the provision of worship to be in part delegated to an individual often called 'Pulpit Supply Secretary' who sees that people are booked over the year to lead worship each Sunday. However, changes to worship that are larger e.g. change of time, would be responsibility of the Elders Meeting who normally would refer to Church Meeting for discussion.

Jengie
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
The question is trustees of what: again, I think there are many potential pitfalls around who actually owns the real estate.

It'd get properly messy if there was a decent sized split in the Church of England.

Someone once told me about the mess created in Bombay when the Anglican structure became part of the Church of North India. Apparently the buildings were retained by some kind of inherited structure, which then turfed out the new CNI congregations.

I might have misremembered some of the details, it was a long time ago that I was told about it.
 
Posted by Higgs Bosun (# 16582) on :
 
Part of the reason for the character and complexity of the Church of England is that it is the established church. The parish system is part of this, where the parish is a specific geographical area, with a boundary. Boundaries can be moved, and even new parishes created, but these require significant legal process.

Establishment implies a responsibility to the people resident in the parish boundary. One theme is that the church appoints priests to parishes (who have the "cure of souls for the parish") not ministers to congregations.

In contrast, I get the impression that a "parish" for Catholics and for Episcopalians outside of England (and Wales) is actually just a congregation - those who gather at the particular building.

The role of church warden in an ancient one. I have heard that it is the oldest office elected by a general suffrage. This stems from the responsibility of the Parish to provide for the poor. This was done by raising a 'rate' (a tax) which was set by the church wardens. This ended in the nineteenth century with the Poor Laws. (I think the splitting of the Parish Council as the lowest level of local government and the Parochial Church Council occurred later). However, the electorate for the wardens remains. Now, I understand, that it is the union of those on the electoral roll and those living in the parish who are entitled to vote in local government elections.

It is my understanding that the church wardens are officers of the bishop. When you are elected you have to make a declaration that you will discharge your duties well. This is made to a diocesan law officer (wearing a wig). This happens at an "Archdeacon's Visitation" (here in London, you visit the archdeacon), and you also receive "the archdeacons charge" - a talk that always seem to come down to money, in my experience.

Although church buildings are owned by the Church, the parish owns movable stuff, like hymn books and hassocks. The church wardens are responsible for these. You are supposed to have something called a 'terrier' (not a dog) which lists them all, and the archdeacon, or a representative, is supposed to check them on a three-yearly basis.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
In contrast, I get the impression that a "parish" for Catholics and for Episcopalians outside of England (and Wales) is actually just a congregation - those who gather at the particular building.

That's true of Episcopal parishes in these parts. Catholic parishes, as I understand it, are territorial, but there is no obligation to attend the church of the parish where one resides, and many many Catholics around here are registered with the church of a parish where they don’t live. So parish doesn’t necessarily have a territorial connotation here, particularly for Episcopalians. (Presbyterians occasionally use the term too.)

But I don't think many would describe “parish” as “those who gather at the particular building." Rather, I think they’d describe it as “those who belong to a particular community."
 
Posted by Pine Marten (# 11068) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:


The role of church warden in an ancient one. I have heard that it is the oldest office elected by a general suffrage. This stems from the responsibility of the Parish to provide for the poor. This was done by raising a 'rate' (a tax) which was set by the church wardens. This ended in the nineteenth century with the Poor Laws. (I think the splitting of the Parish Council as the lowest level of local government and the Parochial Church Council occurred later). However, the electorate for the wardens remains. Now, I understand, that it is the union of those on the electoral roll and those living in the parish who are entitled to vote in local government elections.

It is my understanding that the church wardens are officers of the bishop. When you are elected you have to make a declaration that you will discharge your duties well. This is made to a diocesan law officer (wearing a wig). This happens at an "Archdeacon's Visitation" (here in London, you visit the archdeacon), and you also receive "the archdeacons charge" - a talk that always seem to come down to money, in my experience.

Although church buildings are owned by the Church, the parish owns movable stuff, like hymn books and hassocks. The church wardens are responsible for these. You are supposed to have something called a 'terrier' (not a dog) which lists them all, and the archdeacon, or a representative, is supposed to check them on a three-yearly basis.

Indeed. Last April I came to the end of my 6-year tenure as warden (at the APCM) and the new warden-elect (we have two) was formally appointed at the Visitation in June. It was impressed upon me when first elected that we were 'bishop's officers' and had quite a lot of legal rights and responsibilities. One of mine was a seemingly endless battle with Thames Water over whose responsibility was the pipework leading from our church basement to underneath the middle of the road... [Roll Eyes]

I did go through the 'terrier' etc one year with my fellow warden, and checked all the silver and so on, and got involved in all sorts of things to do with the fabric of the church buildings.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
When I first got involved in church life, I genuinely thought that "fabric" referred to curtains and other items made of cloth ...
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
As everyone has already said, except that although in theory there is a Vicar's Warden and a Peoples' Warden, everywhere I've been in the last 40+ years, both wardens have been elected.

Yes - because the law changed and vicars can no longer choose a warden unless the APCM allow him/her.
 
Posted by ExclamationMark (# 14715) on :
 
As has been stated above, technically anyone resident in a parish can not only attend an APCM but also vote for churchwarden nominees - even if they (the voter) has no belief whatsoever.

Taking it still further, a churchwarden can be elected (and in my immediate knowledge has been elected) by a pressure group in the parish. The individual concerned stood against a returning candidate and packed the meeting with supporters.

Seems an anomaly that the government of a local church can be undertaken by someone who doesn't subscribe to its core beliefs.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
If only the disadvantages of establishment were balanced by an advantage of the costs of keeping open a large number of beautiful and historic churches with an almost vanished congregation.
 
Posted by Albertus (# 13356) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
As everyone has already said, except that although in theory there is a Vicar's Warden and a Peoples' Warden, everywhere I've been in the last 40+ years, both wardens have been elected.

Yes - because the law changed and vicars can no longer choose a warden unless the APCM allow him/her.
Tho' as Stephen says upthread, here in Wales we still have Vicar's (appointed) and People's (elected) Wardens. Another minor technical difference: I think I'm right in saying that in multi-church benefices in England, each church has two Churchwardens. Multi-church benefices in Wales (like ours) have two Parish Wardens and then two sub-wardens (Vicar's and People's) for each church. I'm a Vicar's sub-warden and here at least it is very clearly the Vicar's own decision who to appoint.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
As has been stated above, technically anyone resident in a parish can not only attend an APCM but also vote for churchwarden nominees - even if they (the voter) has no belief whatsoever.

Taking it still further, a churchwarden can be elected (and in my immediate knowledge has been elected) by a pressure group in the parish. The individual concerned stood against a returning candidate and packed the meeting with supporters.

Seems an anomaly that the government of a local church can be undertaken by someone who doesn't subscribe to its core beliefs.

It's a corollary of being an established church which refuses to "make windows into men's souls". I'm not sure you could change the rules without changing the nature of the CofE.
 
Posted by churchgeek (# 5557) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
In contrast, I get the impression that a "parish" for Catholics and for Episcopalians outside of England (and Wales) is actually just a congregation - those who gather at the particular building.

That's true of Episcopal parishes in these parts. Catholic parishes, as I understand it, are territorial, but there is no obligation to attend the church of the parish where one resides, and many many Catholics around here are registered with the church of a parish where they don’t live. So parish doesn’t necessarily have a territorial connotation here, particularly for Episcopalians. (Presbyterians occasionally use the term too.)

But I don't think many would describe “parish” as “those who gather at the particular building." Rather, I think they’d describe it as “those who belong to a particular community."

Here in the Episcopal Church in the US (at least, in the areas I've lived, in Michigan and California), that's definitely true - a "parish" is essentially a "congregation," defined as those who more or less "belong." What that means depends on context. If you're talking about who can vote, that would be regular communicants on the membership roll, i.e., those who have been received in the parish through baptism, confirmation, reception, or letter of transfer, who are still receiving Communion in the church something rather lax like 2 or 4 times per year. (We just went through this, as we held a "meeting of the congregation" to approve of selling a little property.) But in a less formal sense, "belonging" just means you attend and are involved in some way. Some churches focus on pledges; others just go by seeing you in church most Sundays.

The term "parish church" is often used in contrast with a "cathedral church," but some cathedrals have parish congregations and some don't. It confuses me, to be sure.

It's interesting to me to read this thread, as an American Episcopalian. I'm just finishing a year as Senior Warden, after a year as Junior Warden, and while these roles do have very specific responsibilities in church law, most of it really only has to do with times when the priest in charge isn't available (i.e., sick, or interregnum). I haven't had to do much at all, although I'll be giving a report at the annual meeting later this month.

As for terminology, I know that in some places in the US, the wardens are called Dean's/Priest's/Rector's Warden and People's Warden, although the most common language is Senior and Junior, or just Wardens.

One Presbyterian I know who serves on her church's version of a Vestry (our version of PCC I suspect) was surprised at our terminology: "It sounds like a prison!" [Killing me]

I'm curious about some of that terminology. Is the term "vestry" used in England? If so, is it a fiduciary or governing body, or a room you vest in? (Here, it can be both; but usually the room is just called a sacristy, even if it's separate from the sacristy with the piscina in it.)

[ 02. January 2018, 02:22: Message edited by: churchgeek ]
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
In England a vestry is for robing in, as is the choir vestry. Scotland has vestry committees, however. Wikipedia says they used to exist in England and Wales before their responsibilities were divided between PCCs and civil Parish Councils.
 
Posted by betjemaniac (# 17618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
If only the disadvantages of establishment were balanced by an advantage of the costs of keeping open a large number of beautiful and historic churches with an almost vanished congregation.

Well quite. If only.... Because it isn't. Not sure whether you knew that or not though? IME it seems commonplace even *in England* for people to think Establishment = government money.... If we got any money out of the deal then those churches you mention wouldn't be lurching through continual financial crisis....
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
Mind you, that's a general problem with old buildings. They get Listed by the Council/English Heritage or whoever, but you've got to stump up the money to conserve them while having to accept restrictions on how you use them. That's why the National Trust have often (at least in the past) only accepted properties which have come with endowments attached.

My last church (non-CofE) was a fine chapel, Grade II listed, which not only cost us an arm and a leg to maintain but was unsuitable for our needs. We couldn't knock it down (nor did we want to see it go); more to the point,we couldn't sell it and build anew elsewhere, as the listing imposed similar conditions on any prospective purchasers, making it valueless.

[ 02. January 2018, 10:08: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:


My last church (non-CofE) was a fine chapel, Grade II listed, which not only cost us an arm and a leg to maintain but was unsuitable for our needs. We couldn't knock it down (nor did we want to see it go); more to the point,we couldn't sell it and build anew elsewhere, as the listing imposed similar conditions on any prospective purchasers, making it valueless.

I think this happens a lot. A church I know well has a feature which is rare and mentioned in the listing. The building itself is decaying and in desperate need of major renovation.

English Heritage offer some payment, and the church can access various historical building grants - however these do not cover the total costs of repair and it has been hard to find funds to cover the major renovations.

One wonders what would happen if the church just walked away from the building. If English Heritage really wanted to preserve it, I suppose they'd have to pay for it.
 
Posted by The Man with a Stick (# 12664) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
All PCC members are trustees too if the church is registered as a charity.

Whether or not they are registered. All PCCs are charities, full stop. Those who cross an annual income threshold are required to register with the Charity Commission.
 
Posted by Curiosity killed ... (# 11770) on :
 
Clarifying, a member of the Parochial Church Council of a church registered as a charity has to complete and sign charitable trustee forms.
 
Posted by Tubbs (# 440) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan: True, although in congregationalist set-ups (eg Baptist) Deacons/Elders are de facto "managing charity trustees" and are bound by that set of laws and requirements (unless the church isn't a charity, but most are).
Yes. The difference is that "churchwarden" is a specific role in law whereas the equivalent in every other religious group is because they are "trustees", which obviously also applies to many other charitable roles outside of religious setups.
You're right of course - it's just that many folk don't realise that they're trustees. The URC may be more tightly bound as it is subject to the provision of three specific Acts of Parliament from 1972 onwards. Interestingly I believe that it is Elders (and not Ministers) who are responsible for the (?correct) maintenance of public worship.
Rev T makes a point of telling people when they stand for deacon that they also become Trustees and explains a bit about what this involves.

He's convinced that what they actually hear during this bit of the pre-agreeing to stand for Deacon talk is "Blah, blah, blah ... church .... blah, blah ... well running ... blah, blah ... Minister ... responsible ...for all of that".
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
One wonders what would happen if the church just walked away from the building. If English Heritage really wanted to preserve it, I suppose they'd have to pay for it.

That happened in this city - the building still stands, empty, after more than 40 years
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
If only the disadvantages of establishment were balanced by an advantage of the costs of keeping open a large number of beautiful and historic churches with an almost vanished congregation.

Well quite. If only.... Because it isn't. Not sure whether you knew that or not though?
I'd have thought that the "If only" was a bit of a clue that I did in fact know that.
 
Posted by BroJames (# 9636) on :
 
Legally the church, churchyard and any other land belonging to it are vested in the office of the incumbent, so they ‘belong’ to whoever is legally incumbent for the time being. They have very limited number of ’rights’ of ownership and, for example, can’t sell the property. All PCCs are statutory charitable trusts, and all PCC members are trustees, whether the PCC is registered with the Charity Commissioners or not (increasingly they are being required to register).

In Canon Law the task of the PCC is “to cooperate with the incumbent in the whole mission of the Church…”, and there are certain areas where the incumbent is required to consult with the PCC (though I can’t recall whether their opinion has to be followed). Canon Law tends to expect the ‘ordinary ‘ (i.e. the diocesan bishop) to act as arbiter for some disagreements, and provides fallback positions for others.

IIRC churchwardens must be actual communicants, and on the electoral roll, but can be voted for by all on the civil electoral roll in the parish. Nowadays, the legal provision of people’s Warden and vicar’s/rector’s Warden is really intended for situations where there is a breakdown, and someone is elected whom the incumbent formally declares they are unable to work with. Both wardens should be elected at the ‘Vestry’ meeting which technically precedes the Annual Meeting (but is usually treated as part of that meeting), though some parishes preserve the old custom of people’s Warden and vicar’s/rector’s Warden.
 
Posted by betjemaniac (# 17618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
If only the disadvantages of establishment were balanced by an advantage of the costs of keeping open a large number of beautiful and historic churches with an almost vanished congregation.

Well quite. If only.... Because it isn't. Not sure whether you knew that or not though?
I'd have thought that the "If only" was a bit of a clue that I did in fact know that.
I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, but I did actually read it as more of a "when will those people moaning about it all be upfront about the fact all the cash helps the medicine go down....?" The ambiguity was there in my head anyway, so I wasn't entirely sure....
 
Posted by Higgs Bosun (# 16582) on :
 
I dug up the Church Wardens Measure 2001. Interesting.

It may have been the case that, in the past, there was one elected warden and one appointed by the incumbent. However, it seems that now, two are elected, unless provisiond of 4.5 comes into effect:
quote:

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.

What happens if the problematic person is then elected?

Has anyone ever known this to happen?
 
Posted by wabale (# 18715) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
I dug up the Church Wardens Measure 2001. Interesting.

It may have been the case that, in the past, there was one elected warden and one appointed by the incumbent. However, it seems that now, two are elected, unless provisiond of 4.5 comes into effect:
quote:

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.

What happens if the problematic person is then elected?

Has anyone ever known this to happen?

Yes, please don't try this at home ... Our church lost two vicars and three churchwardens over about thirty years. They left prematurely, and two of the churchwardens involved went to live elsewhere. A ‘vicar’s warden’ or a ‘4.5’ warden wouldn’t, I think, have helped the situation. He or she would have been in an even more problematic role than our duly elected officials were. Perhaps in the past having churchwardens with different roles helped limit conflict, but nowadays I think we’re probably much better off moving heaven and earth to get vicar and PCC working as a team. The moment you start reaching for the rulebook you’ve probably already lost the plot.
 
Posted by The Man with a Stick (# 12664) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
I dug up the Church Wardens Measure 2001. Interesting.

It may have been the case that, in the past, there was one elected warden and one appointed by the incumbent. However, it seems that now, two are elected, unless provisiond of 4.5 comes into effect:
quote:

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.

What happens if the problematic person is then elected?

Has anyone ever known this to happen?

This was precisely the point of the drafting. Where there's a breakdown between incumbent and candidate-warden, it *might* be the candidate's fault, but it might be the minister...

I know of several cases where 4.5 has been used, but have not been sufficiently closely involved to know what the outcome of the election was.

I always strongly advise against using it.
 


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