Where there should
be 12 representatives of the laity on a PCC, and through a failure
to distinguish between ordinary and casual vacancies, six were
appointed by the annual parochial church meeting (APCM) for three
years two years ago, and the other six were similarly appointed for
three years last year. This leaves none to be elected this year.
Given that this is irregular, how should this situation be
recovered? . . .
I am not sure how the parish got itself into this
position, given that three-year terms for PCC members have been
with us for some time now. It would seem that for the past two
years its APCM has elected six PCC members for a three-year term,
when it should have elected only four members for such a term on
each occasion. Sorting out this imbroglio is not simple.
It might be possible to
analyse the elections over the past two years, and tease out those
who should have been elected for a three-year term, and those who
(being elected to fill casual vacancies) should have been appointed
for a lesser term. This might allow some elections to take place at
this coming APCM. But such an approach seems a bit complicated. A
simpler solution would be for the next APCM to revert to one-year
terms of office under the provisions of Rule 16(3) of the Church
Representation Rules. In two years' time, all its PCC would be
elected for a one-year term, and the problems outlined in the
question would have disappeared.
It may be, however, that the parish wishes to retain
three-year terms for its PCC, or that it does not want to wait two
years during which the position of some PCC members could be held
to be irregular. In that case, they should approach the diocesan
secretary and enquire whether the Bishop would be prepared to use
his powers under Rule 53(1). The simplest form of provision would
be that all members of the PCC should retire at the next APCM, that
fresh elections for all 12 vacancies be held at that meeting, and
that thereafter lots be drawn to determine the periods of office of
all elected members.
If the parish opts for a
Rule 53 approach on these lines, and the request is granted, then
it needs to make sure that it will be possible to fill all 12 PCC
places when they become vacant at the next APCM. Otherwise,
problems of the kind already described could re-emerge.
The parish should also be
aware that one doesn't necessarily have to wait until an APCM to
fill casual vacancies on the PCC. If the APCM is more than two
months away, the PCC can do this under Rule 48(1).
Stephen Linstead (Reader)
How do the clergy
set the intellectual level of their sermons? It often seems to be
fairly childish, even when the children have already gone out to
Sunday school. Are the laity entitled to expect more? I'm sure it
wasn't always like this.
Address for answers and more questions: Out of the
Question,Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden
Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.