The running of our parish is the joint responsibility of the vicar and the parochial church council (PCC), which is made up of the parish clergy and elected representatives from our congregation. As such, the PCC is our church’s governing body and also the board of trustees which oversees the church’s charitable works and money.
The powers and duties of PCCs are laid down in law. Key duties are to co-operate with the vicar in promoting the mission of the Church in the parish and to be responsible for the financial affairs of the church and the care and maintenance of the church fabric and its contents. It also has a voice in the forms of service used by the church and may make representations to the bishop and deanery synod on matters affecting the welfare and pastoral care of the parish.
Our PCC meets regularly to discuss matters about the life of the Church. Apart from finance and buildings, it considers the Church's mission and involvement in the community, support of missionary work, the social life and activities of the Church, the spiritual development of the congregation and our worship. Given that
this would amount to a lot of work for a small group of volunteers, the PCC delegates some of its tasks to sub-groups, as depicted in this diagram.
The PCC carries out its work in an open and transparent basis while ensuring it complies fully with its legal and moral responsibilities. As such, it sets out its approach to a number of essential areas in a series of policies that can be found on our Policies page. The policies are regularly reviewed, in accordance with our Policy Review Plan.
If you would like to find out more about the PCC or are interested in joining, please keep reading below, contact a member of the Ministry Team or see the suggestions for further reading at the bottom of this page.
The PCC is made up of members of the clergy and lay members of the church. A lay member is anyone who is on the electoral roll but is not a member of the clergy. In more detail, this is how the PCC is formed:
Our Vicar and other people licensed for ministry, such as associated ministers, licensed lay ministers or curates
Our two Churchwardens
Churchwardens are the officers of the bishop, not the vicar or PCC, but must be the foremost in representing the lay members and co-operating with the vicar.
They must carry out the duties given to them in law, which includes maintaining order and decency in the church and churchyard and looking after all of the movable goods of the church.
They are selected at the Annual Vestry Meeting, which is open to people on the church electoral roll and to any resident of the parish who is registered to vote in government elections.
Our Deanery, Diocesan and General Synod lay representatives
Lay members elected from our congregation
These members are elected at the Annual Parochial Council Meeting. They are generally elected for three years, with one third elected each year. At the end of their three years, they are able to stand for re-election if they choose to do so.
The number of lay members also depends on the size of the electoral roll - we currently have twelve.
Lay members invited (or ‘co-opted’) by the PCC
These are typically people who take on a specific function for the PCC, such as treasurer or secretary.
As we have 12 lay members of the PCC, we are allowed up to 2 co-opted members.
Anyone who is over 16 years old and has been on the electoral roll for over 6 months can stand for election. Further information on the rules around church elections can be found on the Diocese of Oxford website.
Anyone can join the electoral roll, allowing them to vote in church elections or to stand as a PCC candidate, provided they are:
A member of the Church of England (or of a Church in communion with the Church of England) and resident in the parish; or
A member of the Church of England (or a Church in communion with the Church of England) and, not being resident in the parish, have habitually attended public worship in the parish during the period of six months prior to enrolment; or
A member in good standing of a Church (not in communion with the Church of England) which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and also declares themselves to be a member of the Church of England and have habitually attended public worship in the parish during the period of six months prior to enrolment.
If you would like to find out more or join our electoral roll, please ask a member of our Ministry Team or our Electoral Roll Officer.
There are a few things the PCC does at its first meeting each year:
Elect certain officers, including a Vice-chair, Treasurer, Secretary and an Electoral Roll Officer.
Agree the dates of the year's PCC meetings.
Form a Standing Committee to handle routine management matters which arise between PCC meetings.
We meet at least four times a year, usually on a Thursday evening for around 2½ hours:
All meetings start with an opportunity to pray and worship together.
We need at least one third (rounded) of the PCC present to conduct business.
Each meeting has an agenda prepared and circulated at least one week beforehand.
Minutes are circulated to PCC members after each meeting and are also made available to the congregation, less any confidential matters.
The need might occasionally arise to have a short notice meetings, referred to as an extraordinary meeting, in which case the Chair will give not less than 3 days notice.
We make decisions by voting, with a simple majority required for a motion to pass. If required, the Chair has a casting vote.
The PCC is required, among other things, to do the following each year:
Approve our financial budget and review financial activity.
Act as employer for anyone employed by our church.
Review reports from the PCC’s sub-groups and decide on any matters elevated to the PCC.
Oversee the implementation of, and compliance with, our written policies.
Prepare reports on the PCC's work and present them to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which is held annually before the end of April.
PCC members are required to be at least 16 years old, be communicants (they regularly receive Holy Communion) and have been on electoral roll for at least 6 months prior to being elected. They are also expected to:
Be a committed Christian and an active member of the family of St Michaels.
Fully agree with our values.
Be willing to learn and to share ideas, experience and gifts.
Listen to each other’s points of view.
Debate proposals in an open, frank and courteous manner.
Commit time in order to regularly attend PCC and other meetings/events and to serve where needed.
Fully comply with our written policies, promote their adoption and highlight where they are not being followed - either to the PCC or as per our Whistleblowing Policy.
Have a voice in the affairs of the parish.
Help manage our finances in line with biblical principles of stewardship and responsibility.
Co-operate with the vicar in promoting the mission of the church within the parish.
Raise matters for debate at Diocesan or Deanery Synod level, where appropriate.
Make representation, if required, to our Bishop concerning the welfare of the parish.
Members are also formally Trustees of the charity that is the PCC and are responsible for managing the Church’s finances. In law the PCC is a ‘body corporate’, which means that it is separate from the people who serve on it so PCC members are not liable for any debts incurred by the PCC unless their individual actions are judged to be negligent or deceitful. Trustees have responsibilities under the Charity Act 2011 and members should acquaint themselves with Trusteeship: An Introduction Booklet for PCC members which provides more detailed guidance.
Trusteeship: an introduction booklet for PCC members
The Essential Trustee: a Charity Commission booklet about being a Trustee
Parish Safeguarding: the handbook for all aspects of Safeguarding in a parish
Parish Resources: a treasure trove of resources to support all aspects of stewardship, administration and management in local churches
Church Representation Rules: the laws, rules and regulations about governing churches
The PCC Member’s Essential Guide by Mark Tanner (available at bookshops)