What is the PCC?

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The Parish Church of All Saints, Bingley...WHAT IS THE PCC?

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) has a major role to play in the life of the Church of England within the local community. It is a complicated body for it has to carry out a mixture of spiritual, legal, financial pastoral and missionary functions. The PCC has responsibilities not only to the congregation of the Parish Church but to all parishioners, i.e. to all the people, who live in the parish, regardless of their denomination or faith or creed. The PCC shares the privilege and responsibility of making decisions with the parish priest, and in return it co-operates with the parish priest in the whole mission of the Church.

The Synodical Government Measure 1969 sets out the task of the PCC.  It states:

1. It shall be the duty of the Incumbent and the Parochial Church Council to consult together on matters of general concern and importance in the parish.

2. The function of the PCC shall include;
a) Co-operating with the incumbent in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical;
b) Considering and discussing matters concerning the Church of England or any other matters of religious or public interest, but not the declaration of the doctrine of the Church on any question;
c) Making known and putting into effect any provision made by the Diocesan Synod or the Deanery Synod, but without prejudice to the powers of the PCC on any particular matter;
d) Giving advice to the Diocesan Synod and the Deanery Synod on any matter referred to the PCC;
e) raising such matters as the PCC consider appropriate with the Diocesan Synod or Deanery Synod.

3. In the exercise of its functions the PCC shall take into consideration any expression of opinion by any Parochial Church Council meeting.
This gives great emphasis on the part played by lay people in the parish. However, co-operation, communication and consultation are clearly extremely important for the success of this partnership between Clergy and Lay people.
The Church Representation Rules have much to say on how the PCC is organised and how many people can stand for election. It also devotes several paragraphs to how business is to be conducted by the PCC. However the rules are silent on what business the PCC should conduct.

Working within the organisation of the Church of England and under the tenets of Canon Law, the PCC members are in effect Trustees of an independent charity. They are responsible for making decisions in the Parish, subject to the laws of the land. The PCC may delegate matters to sub-committees, yet matters of 'policy' or 'finance' must still be referred back to the PCC for ratification as the legal governing body of the Parish.

It is extremely important therefore that the PCC, a mixture of elected Lay members, ex-officio member and Clergy, works closely together for the benefit of the Parish. It is the first level of a complex administrative and management structure of the Anglican Church, which links together the Deanery Synod, the Diocesan Synod and the General Synod. Through this structure important consultations take place, decisions are reached and outcomes are communicated.

Top down and bottom up issues are discussed and acted upon. These might be trivial or they may indeed have far reaching effects.

The PCC takes a keen and overarching interest in all the various activities that happen in a busy parish. All the various voluntary groups and organisations are ultimately responsible and accountable in some way to the PCC. It is for this reason that the Parish APCM receives an Annual Reports on Parish activities.

The PCC in the Parish of All Saints’ usually meets six times per year. The meetings are held on a two monthly cycle, from 7.30pm until about 9 pm, usually in the Church House.

Matters are usually arranged to ensure that there are not too many ‘heavy’ issues on the same agenda. A ‘typical’ Agenda is normally arranged to cover spiritual issues, mission and outreach, administrative issues, matters relating to the buildings and fabric of the buildings, financial matters, and children & young people's work. There are some standing Agenda items of Reports from committees and representatives. This allows the Parish as a whole to keep the PCC abreast of any important developments locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally.

The PCC is usually chaired by the Incumbent. During an Interregnum (and in the absence of a Vicar), one of the Church Wardens will take the Chair. It is quite normal for some matters to be deferred to a later meeting, giving PCC members time for further thoughtful reflection. Matters under AOB should be notified a week before a regular meeting in writing.

If you are a member of the PCC, you are taking an proactive role in the ministry and mission of the church.   You are encouraged to prayerfully consider your part on the Council and whether there is an area of responsibility that you have or would like to have and bring representation to the PCC.