What is the Electoral Roll and should I join it?
Officially, it is a list of those eligible to vote in the elections of Churchwardens, PCC and Deanery Synod members. It can be made up of those who are part of the Church and/or those who live within the parish. Unofficially, it is useful as an up-to-date list of everyone who’s part of the Church family. If you consider yourself a member of our Church, even if you can’t always make the meetings, then please join (forms are in Church and Hall)! This year we have to take everyone off and everyone has to re-apply. Hopefully this will give us an up to date membership list.
What is the APCM?
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting is required each year before the end of April. This year it is on Monday 29th April, 7.30pm in All Saints Church. In preparation for this meeting the PCC produces several reports on the activities and finances of the Church in 2018, and the meeting is a chance to ask questions of the reports and give thanks to God for all He has been doing. We also elect (with voting if necessary) wardens, PCC and Deanery Synod members. Although it appears similar to a business meeting, as a church family it is really an opportunity to pray, give thanks and seek the Lord’s will for stewarding our gifts, resources and finances for the gospel.
What is the role of the PCC, and who can stand for it?
The PCC stands for the Parochial Church Council. It meets six times a year formally, and once for a social. It’s primary responsibility is to act as trustees for the buildings, finance and church policies (including safeguarding) although the PCC members are not personally liable! Churchwardens are also elected for a three year term. They automatically sit on the PCC and hold an even greater responsibility for the practicalities of Church life, and spiritual support of the clergy and congregation.
As well as those legal responsibilities, the PCC also plays a key role in supporting the clergy through prayer, discussion and suggestions for how to faithfully see people come to faith, grow in faith and live out their faith in Jesus. Members of the electoral roll are elected to the PCC for a 3 year term (when the number of applications is within the spaces available, no elections are needed). Anyone who has been on the Electoral Roll for more than 6 months is eligible to stand, and it’s advisable to speak to Tom in the first instance who can give you more details about what’s involved. The list of current PCC members is on the annual report (available on the website) and anyone can approach a PCC member to have an issue raised or for more information.
What is the Deanery Synod?
The Deanery Synod is made up of representatives from several churches in the local area. We are in the Deanery of Arundel and Bognor which stretches along the coast from East Preston to Pagham. There are several meetings of the Deanery Synod throughout the year, with different speakers and themes. The main administrative role of the Deanery Synod is to pass on information from the National and Diocesan synods, and to agree the Deanery-wide contribution that is made to the central Diocese fund each year. Those elected to Deanery Synod automatically sit on the PCC.
How is a Parish Church funded?
Church of England Churches are effectively self-funding. Some may have historic resources such as trusts or properties that provide an income, but most (including All Saints) rely on the money which is given, reclaimed through Gift Aid, or a relatively small amount of fees for Wedding and Funeral Services. Each Parish Church is asked to contribute to a central fund, from which minister’s stipends and pensions are paid, new clergy and lay ministers are trained, vicarages are bought and maintained, support offices are financed (such as safeguarding and education) and a contribution to the national church. In 2019 All Saints’ contribution to the Diocese is £32,721
Why do I sometimes hear people talking about a ‘faculty?'
A faculty is permission granted to a church council to make changes to their church building. As a Church and PCC we don’t own All Saints Church (although we do own the hall) and so any modifications, improvements and major repairs need to have permission before they can be undertaken. It can sometimes be seen as a point of frustration, especially when the work seems minor or based on common sense. It also costs some money. My impression is that the group which allocates faculties are increasingly mission-minded and want to enable rather than delay churches making improvements. The system is intended to safeguard the resources God’s given us.