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Muddle over three-year rule

08 March 2013


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) Solihull

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.

A. M.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question,Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.


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