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The number of PCC meetings in the year

by
28 February 2014

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From the Revd Chris Mitchell

Sir, - Reading the reports of the February General Synod sessions (Synod, 21 February), I do wonder how many members have experience of small country parishes.

In the debate about the frequency of PCC meetings, great alarm was expressed at the dire consequences of a parish's having only one PCC meeting in a year. In each of my last two appointments before retirement, some of the parishes in my rural group had very infrequent meetings. One parish in Norfolk used to appoint a PCC each year, but rarely met - usually only if a faculty application was needed.

Another parish, in Derbyshire, would usually have one meeting in the year, in addition to the APCM. Yet the worship and ministry of the parish continued, albeit in a quiet and unspectacular way. Most matters were quickly decided by an informal meeting after a service, and only a limited number of matters required a formal meeting.

This parish had a population of about 80, a fortnightly service, and an average Sunday congregation of ten, all of whom were PCC members. Obviously, in a large town parish the situation would be very different.

I am sure that I am not alone in these experiences. It is true that in such a situation the incumbent has to be careful that decision-making is not dominated by one forceful individual or family; but this can happen even at a formal meeting. Similarly, fears of clerical despotism seem ill-founded. These days, PCC members (quite rightly) would be quick to raise matters of concern, and insist on an early meeting, if needed. Wise parish priests and archdeacons have more important things to do than to quibble about the number of PCC meetings held.

CHRIS MITCHELL
42 Melton Avenue, York YO30 5QG

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