The Area Councils were set up under an amendment to the London Area Scheme and replaced the former Area Synods and Area Bishop’s Councils. The London Area Scheme is a scheme made under the Dioceses Measure for the division of the Diocese into Episcopal Areas.
The main functions of each Area Council are:
To provide support and advice to the Area Bishop on the whole mission, ministry and administration of the Church in the Area and to consider such matters about which the Area Bishop may choose to consult it;
To decide on matters delegated by the Diocesan Synod, or other body, to the Area Council.
In this connection:
- the Area Council is a sub-committee to which the Diocesan Bishop’s Council (as Mission and Pastoral Committee) has delegated proposals for schemes or orders relating to the Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007 affecting the Episcopal Area, with certain exceptions;
- the Diocesan Bishop’s Council, as Mission and Pastoral Committee, has also delegated to Area Councils the functions of the Mission and Pastoral Committee in respect of churches closed for regular public worship, with certain exceptions;
- the Council is entitled to discuss the deployment of clergy and other accredited ministers (ordained and lay), within the total number allocated to the Area;
- the Council takes financial responsibility for money allocated to the Area by the Diocesan Finance Committee.
The Area Council deals with issues relating to Common Fund assessment for parishes in the Area.
The Council has power to levy Area surcharges on parishes or deaneries in relation to matters of Area-wide concern.
Under the guidance of the Area Bishop, the Council may take responsibility for organising Area-wide gatherings and events for the benefit of the Area.
Area Councils are also empowered to set up sub-committees and working groups, with appropriate terms of reference. All Area Councils have in place Area Finance Groups or Committees.
Membership of the Area Councils consists of (ex-officio) the respective Area bishop and archdeacon, the area deans and the lay-chairs of the deanery synods in the Area, and a number of members elected by the members of the deanery synods in the Area voting by houses. Some Area Councils have the power to make co-options.
Who can be elected?
Details of the full requirements can be found on the nominations forms. However, the general position in brief is as follows:
Any lay person who is taking communion (at least three times in the last year), is confirmed, is at least sixteen years old and whose name is entered on the electoral roll of a parish in the Area can stand to be elected to the Area Councils, by the existing lay members of the Area Council.
Any clergy man or woman who is a member of a deanery synod in the relevant Area can stand to be elected to the Area Council for that Area, by the House of Clergy of the relevant deanery synod(s).
Who should stand for election?
Members of the churches in each Episcopal Area are invited to consider standing for election to their Area Council to take forward together our Christian life in each Area.
Anybody who qualifies to be elected and who feels they have a role to play on an Area Council should complete a nomination form and return it to the Presiding Officer (address on the form).