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No one stands as churchwarden

28 March 2014

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.


Your answers

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 usual.

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)
Holton, Suffolk

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 churchwardens.

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

Your questions

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. P.

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