What happens in a parish when both churchwardens are not
standing for re-election and no one can be found who is prepared to
stand for election?
We had the same situation at the annual parochial church meeting
of St Peter's, Holton, in Suffolk, in April 2012.
The PCC has seven members other than our Vicar and
churchwardens, and we agreed that if the PCC took on the
responsibility between us, in a collegiate manner, we could stil
function as a worshipping church. (The two former churchwardens
were both elected on to the PCC.)
The diocesan authorities have been informed, as have our
insurers, without any comment from either. The PCC secretary and
PCC treasurer act as correspondence points. The church membership
(about 25 regular worshippers) have volunteered to act as vergers,
intercessors, and readers, some of them for the first time. Weekly
Sunday services are occasionally taken by the church's two lay
elders, as are Friday services usually; weddings and funerals are
managed between us.
During 2013, the church was redecorated and some repairs were
carried out, and all the appropriate faculties, grants, and VAT
refunds were managed and obtained (with help from our architect,
Matthew Thomas of Aylsham). Church members turned out to move
furniture and kit for the builders and painters, and to move it all
back. Other non-worship activities (car-boot sale, flower festival,
Christmas fair, monthly and Lent lunches) have all continued as
It isn't an ideal situation, but with good will and talking
about it, it works; it has brought the church together as perhaps
nothing else could have done.
John Hewlett (PCC treasurer)
If the current churchwardens are not standing for election and
nobody else can be found who is qualified and willing to stand,
then Section 10 (1) (b) of the Churchwardens Measure would appear
to give the bishop power to appoint one. The annual meeting of
parishioners would have failed in its duty to elect
This section says that in those circumstances the bishop has to
appoint someone to serve in that role. It does, of course, raise
other questions about the sustainability of the parish.
(The Revd) Roger Stokes
What is the most tactful way to solve the problem of
priests who cough into their hands or wipe their noses on their
fingers before distributing holy communion? S.
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