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Forming a council

09 September 2016

MARK TANNER’s The PCC Member’s Essential Guide (Church House Publishing, £6.99 (£6.30); 978-0-7151-10935) is a different animal from An ABC for the PCC or the Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors. True, it tells you what an area dean does, that a PCC must meet at least four times a year, and even what a Section 11 meeting is (you may have been to one unawares); and where it doesn’t give chapter and verse, it points to online resources.

But it is about formation more than information. PCCs should not be “inward focused, backward looking, downcast, downbeat or downtrodden”, for example; so each section has a character-building devotional exercise, “Space with God”, and there is plenty of advice about the right attitudes to adopt.

Warmly commended by an archbishop and three vicars, it could have done with a lay perspective. It urges PCCs not to be churchy, but, where numbers are low, the few may find churchiness thrust upon them. They can pick up good tips from this guide, and pray parts of it, but may find it less inspiring than will their counterparts in a large church where well-educated people with time to spare vie to be on the PCC, and cope well with unindexed books that refer them to the full text of the Churchwardens Measure.

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