Annual meetings (APCM) take place in parishes before 30 April each year. The annual meeting receives reports on changes to the electoral roll, general parish activities and financial matters. The annual meeting may also elect new members to deanery synods.
APCMs must be held every year in every parish, and not later than 30 April, and a notice of the meeting must be displayed for a period including the last two Sundays before the meeting. The minister of the parish chairs the meeting, or if he/she is not present, the vice-chair of the PCC.
The Business of the APCM
Receiving reports from the PCC
The annual meeting receives from the PCC and is free to discuss the report on changes in the electoral roll since the last meeting, an annual report on the proceedings of the PCC and the activities of the parish generally, the audited or independently examined financial statement of the PCC for the previous year, a report on the fabric, goods and ornaments of the church, and a report on the proceedings of the deanery synod.
Electing deanery synod and PCC representatives
The norm for PCC elections is now for one-third of the PCC to be elected each year, although some APCMs have voted to retain whole PCCs being annually elected.
The numbers to be elected to the deanery synods by parishes are calculated on the basis of electoral roll numbers and other factors, every third year, and are agreed by the Diocesan Synod. The number of representatives for each parish remain for same for the three-year term. If someone resigns, for instance, and a vacancy occurs, this should be filled by a casual vacancy election, using the PCC if an APCM is not due to be held within two months.
Appointing sidespersons and an independent examiner or auditor
It is strongly advised for parishes to obtain a copy of ‘Church Representation Rules 2017’.
Following a parish’s/church’s annual meeting, the wardens are responsible for ensuring that the annual return is completed. The deadline for completion is 1 June, and it can be completed online or on paper.
2019 sees the preparation of new church electoral rolls, which means that everyone must come off the roll and re-apply. This takes place only once in every six years. The last preparation of new rolls was in 2013, and the next will be in 2025.
In the intervening years, i.e. in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024, the usual annual revision of the electoral rolls takes places.
Please note that whenever electoral roll figures are submitted as part of the parish Annual Returns it is always the figures issued at the APCMs in the current year that are required.
In the resources section of this page, you will find the necessary forms and notices for your Annual Meeting:
Notice of Annual Parish Meeting
Notice of meeting of parishioners to elect churchwardens
Nomination forms for a churchwarden, deanery synod member and PCC member
Annual Parish Meeting results
Number of lay representatives on the PCC, i.e. the formula in force since 2004
Number on Electoral Roll
Number of representatives to be elected
50 or less
51 – 100
Note that parishes are permitted to set a different (i.e. higher or lower) number of lay representatives to elect, (e.g. a parish with an electoral roll of 101-200 may consider 10 rather than 12 representatives to be more appropriate). This is done by passing a resolution at the APCM. Any such resolution, however, will only take effect from the following APCM.
The term of office of elected lay members of the PCC
The length of time that an elected member serves on the PCC changed in 2004 from one year to three years, with a third of the PCC to be elected each year – unless the APCM decides to retain the system of annual election of the whole PCC. Such a decision, when taken, is effective in the year in which it is passed, and must be reviewed at least every six years.
Declarations that a person is not disqualified from being a PCC member.
In order to assist in meeting statutory requirements, Forms of Declaration that a person is not disqualified from being a charity trustee, and therefore a PCC member, have been produced for use in parishes from 2019 onwards. These forms replace the previous form, and reflect changes in the regulations. Copies of the updated form, together with a cover note, can be obtained from the diocesan website (see the resource downloads) on this site.
These forms should be completed and signed by all members of the PCC.
(They can be printed on one sheet of paper ‘back-to-back’).
Elections of lay representatives to deanery synods are due to take place at Annual Parochial Church Meetings in 2020. In December 2019 letters will be sent to PCC Secretaries to inform them of the number of places allocated for lay representatives of their parishes on the deanery synods.
The allocation is determined by the number of persons on the church’s electoral roll. Please note that the allocation remains the same throughout the three-year term. For details of the allocations, please download ‘Representation on Deanery Synods’ from the resources section of this page.
Churchwardens’ length of service – Churchwardens Measure 2001. Disqualification after six periods of office (Section 3)
The following note is based on one which was included in mailings of ‘Ministry Matters’ sent to clergy in the Diocese in 2008. They were asked to note that:
A person is disqualified from being appointed to the office of churchwarden when he or she has served as churchwarden of the same parish for six years in succession. A person must have a gap of at least two years before serving again.
However, the Annual Meeting of Parishioners can pass a resolution to the effect that this section of the Measure shall not apply, which would allow the person in question to be appointed after the six years has expired. Such a resolution would take effect immediately. The end of the first six-year period, since this rule came into effect, was the Annual Meeting of Parishioners held in 2008.
This, therefore, meant that any churchwarden who had served continuously since the Annual Meeting of Parishioners of 2002 could not be re-appointed in 2008 unless the Meeting had passed a resolution specifically overruling this provision in relation to the parish, which would enable him or her to be reappointed.
Any such resolution can be revoked by a subsequent Annual Meeting of Parishioners.
The intention of the legislation appears to be that six successive terms should normally be regarded as the maximum unless exceptional circumstances apply.
If necessary, advice can be obtained from the Diocesan Registrar.
For further information, contact the Synodical Secretary.
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