PCC Membership Guidance Notes and Election Nomination Form
Joining and serving on The PCC
This short note is intended as a brief guide to serving on the PCC at St Andrew’s Chorleywood. It is intended merely as a summary note and not a comprehensive guide. The rights and duties of the PCC, and of PCC members, are set out in detail in ‘The Church Representation Rules,’ which may be borrowed from the PCC Secretary (currently Ian Monument) or from the church office.
Being a member of the PCC at St Andrew’s is a service. Like any Christian service, it can be immensely rewarding but can also have moments of grind – such as finishing a long meeting after 11pm on a Monday evening! In short, there are two key duties that fall to the PCC:
• Supporting the (“4G” – Grounded, Growing, Giving and Going) mission and ministry of the vicar and of St Andrew’s more generally
• Taking overall responsibility for the financial management of the church
The Anglican context
We are an Anglican church. That means that the way we are governed is ordered by law, and rooted in custom and practice that goes back many hundreds of years, even though brought up to date by successive revisions. So the incumbent (the vicar), the Churchwardens and PCC members have separate and distinct rights, duties and responsibilities. In turn the vicar has duties to the diocesan Bishop, who delegates his charge to the vicar.
In addition, there are separate, parallel, trustee responsibilities for PCC members under charity law which are no less serious.
There are some things that we can arrange ourselves, for instance where the law is silent or allows alternative approaches; in other cases we cannot make changes, for instance we cannot change the duties of Churchwardens or of the vicar.
The Charities Act Context
In 2009, following implementation of the Charities Act 2006, St Andrew’s registered as a charity in its own right. As a consequence, all PCC members are now automatically charity trustees. The responsibilities of a charity trustee overlap significantly with those of a PCC member. The main additional implications are the following:
• A small minority of people may find themselves ineligible to be a trustee and hence by implication ineligible to stand for PCC. This includes anyone previously disqualified as a company director or anyone convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or deception.
• Church staff and their close relatives, or other financial beneficiaries of the church’s activity and their close relatives, may require special dispensation from the Charity Commission in order to become a trustee/PCC member. This can be organised through the church office. If in doubt please consult the PCC secretary or church manager
• In extreme circumstances that involve a failure to act in accordance with their legal responsibilities of prudence and care, trustees may be legally liable for a financial loss by the church.
• Trustee names, contact details and dates of birth must be registered with the Charity Commission. Trustees are publicly named on the Charity Commission website.
There is no set number of times that we meet. In practice, in recent years we have met every first Monday of the month bar August (other than when there is a bank holiday when we meet on the second Monday). It is quite possible that this may be less frequent in future; that will be for the chair (the incumbent) to determine.
Certain routine business and authority is delegated to a Standing Committee that meets also monthly. Such delegation should allow the PCC as a whole to concentrate on broader matters – of policy and direction.
Officers are elected annually, who carry special responsibilities: the secretary, treasurer, and lay vice-chair. The secretary and treasurer are automatically members of the Standing Committee.
Though anyone not barred from becoming a charity trustee is eligible to stand for election (provided they are on the electoral roll), we like to have a fair representation of the life of the church – by age and gender, with differing experiences as Christians in the community and workplace. We also ask that all PCC members should be involved in some practical service in the church. From time to time work parties or sub-groups are set up to deal with specific issues: e.g. a major refurbishment or building project.
For further reading:
The definitive book on the subject
Guidance on being a charity Trustee
Sarah Jones, 12/03/2012