What is the role of a PCC member?

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Comments

  • If I may revive a dormant thread, can anyone knowledgeable tell me whether a vicar can instruct a member of the PCC ( not me, this time) to submit their immediate resignation? There is no safeguarding issue, nor any criminal or inappropriate behaviour, I hasten to add.
    Surely this is not within his authority? Suggest, question, discuss, maybe.

    The individual has refused. He might well have been going to resign voluntarily, but not under compulsion. He is proposing to raise this at the next meeting. This will open a huge can of worms, which has had the lid on for a few months.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    I'm not an Anglican. But I'm sure the Vicar is out of order here, as the members of the PCC are elected at the APCM rather than appointed by the incumbent. I found this document from the Diocese of Exeter (https://tinyurl.com/y3yk2njy) which includes this section: "Some of the responsibilities are devolved to the Minister and Churchwardens but to quote from the Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measure 1956 section 2 ‘It shall be the duty of the minister and the PCC to consult together on matters of general concern and importance to the parish’. Members of the PCC have the right to be consulted, to know what is proposed, and to have the opportunity to express an opinion on it". It appears that the incumbent, as ex officio chair of the PCC, does have the power to call a meeting but little more.

    Clearly a Vicar (or indeed a Minister in my tradition) can make the position of a PCC member/deacon/trustee very difficult and vice-versa. I suspect though that an Anglican incumbent has a bit more "clout", whether in law or by popular assumption I don't know, than a Baptist minister!
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    IANAL, but the Church Representation Rules provide that a person shall cease to be a member of the PCC if
    • (a) their name is removed from the Electoral Roll through:
      • death;
      • ordination;
      • their own request;
      • ceasing to reside in the parish and not habitually attending regular worship during the preceding six months (unless prevented by illness ‘or other sufficient cause’);
      • not resident in the parish and not habitually attending regular worship during the preceding six months (unless prevented by illness ‘or other sufficient cause’);
      • not entitled to be on the roll at the time their name was entered
      or
    • (b) they refuse or fail to apply to be on roll when the new roll is prepared or
    • (c) they are disqualified from being a charity trustee or are disqualified from being on a PCC under s.10(6) of the Incumbents (Vacation of Benefices) Measure 1977.
    As far as I am aware, there is no other power to dismiss them or to require their resignation.
  • My understanding, too.

    @Puzzler, is your Vicar (by any chance) related to any living, or deceased, Fascist dictator? Cuz that's what it sounds like...
    :grimace:
  • As a vicar, I've never heard of anyone being told to leave the PCC. It sounds rather fishy to me. How approachable are your Area Dean, or Archdeacon?
  • Fishy, indeed.

    Yes, a discreet approach (firstly) to the Area Dean, if s/he is approachable, sounds like a good move.

    Most Dioceses these days have firm guidelines regarding bullying (which is what this might be). I know, as, during our recent interregnum, I had to consult our Area Dean on this very subject...

    If your Diocese, @Puzzler, has such guidelines, you might do well to have a look at the relevant bit of the diocesan website.
  • or try your Diocesan Office
  • Perhaps - in the long term - it will prove better to have opened the can of worms (and, hopefully, slain the Slithering Beasties that have hitherto dwelled therein) than to have kept on pretending that it can be kept closed, or doesn't even exist?
  • I'd get in touch with your Area/Rural Dean sooner rather than later - and certainly before the next PCC meeting if you can.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    There is no basis that I know of, apart from those outlined in a constitution such as that outlined by BroJames above, by which a vestry person can be removed in the manner indicated. This is clearly a conflict situation ... though as one trained in conflict resolution I suggest that any attempt at addressing this break-down in collegiality is a long long way from the point where dialogue could even begin. Call in the diocesan authorities now (and I speak as one in that role irl). And very very pray.
  • Many thanks for all your most helpful responses.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    The bits quoted above suggest that a rector cannot require any elected PC member to resign. Probably not even an appointed one. The area Dean or Regional Bishop is the person to talk to very quickly.
  • I'd listen to both sides. I'd also be interested to know whether the "instruction to resign" was issued in the presence of witnesses or not.

    There are some people who use resignation as a threat … that can be just as bullying.

    Just saying.
  • A little more information:
    like me, this guy, P, has been struggling with the many changes our incumbent has made since he arrived, especially the dumbing down of the liturgy, reduction of the music side and much more, all in the name of being more attractive to young families. ( In two years we have two new families who come regularly, one lot who moved into the parish, and one through baptism. We have lost about twelve people through old age, illness or death, and a further six have left through dissatisfaction, maybe more.)

    P is in his early eighties but very fit and active. A loyal choir member, generous financially, and having no living relatives, he intends leaving a substantial legacy to the church. When the incumbent informed the choir there would be no service of Lessons and Carols this year, this proved to be the Last Straw, and P informed the Vicar that he intends to worship elsewhere on Sundays. This produced the response that he must write a letter of resignation from the PCC. I am not sure whether there were any witnesses. P lives in the parish. He told me
    ( not sure if he told the incumbent ) that he had no intention of withdrawing his various contributions, financial and practical, to the church, and planned to continue to attend the midweek HC. He does not wish to resign.

    P’s latest idea is to request a secret ballot at the next PCC meeting as to whether he should resign or stay on the PCC. I very much doubt if I can get him to speak to the Area Dean or anyone from the Diocese, though I wouldn’t put it past him to try to ring the Bishop!
    Quite separately, I am intending to resign myself after / at the next PCC meeting. I will have shed my one remaining church “ job” by then. Enough is enough. It might have been sooner, but I intend to support P.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    Looking at BroJames' post, I don't think there are any legal grounds for "making him" resign, as he is resident in the parish and also a regular worshipper, albeit not on Sundays.

    I have to say, though, that I would find it hard to have a member of my Diaconate (the Baptist equivalent of PCC) who was not a regular Sunday attender, although I realise that P's withdrawal from church life represents "issues" with the incumbent rather than with the church itself. (One has to ask why an incumbent so in variance with the church's tradition was appointed in the first place - did TPTB in the Diocese feel that the church needed to be 'modernised'? Clearly he does not have the gift of explaining things and 'taking people with him'!)
  • Yes, I agree there are no legal grounds.

    The incumbent was appointed after a long interregnum, and when it came to it, other candidates had been rejected or dropped out for a variety of reasons. Diocesan policy is very much behind all appointments. Nobody can be interviewed by the panel unless they have already been approved by the Bishop. Personally I think the guy was dishonest. He obviously had no intention of working collaboratively, on the lines suggested in the parish profile.
    If there were another Anglican church within our small town, I think many would have already left, but there is a strong desire among those who remain to attend their local parish church. People on the PCC either support the Vicar unquestioningly, or keep quiet because they are keen to avoid conflict, with the exception of P and myself.
  • This is where your tradition and mine differ. In mine, ministers are "recommended" to a church but it is entirely up to the congregation to decide whether they want them or not. The advantage of this system is that the congregation can get just the sort of minister who will suit them; the disadvantage is that they can choose a minister who won't challenge them or try, if necessary, to foster innovation and change.
  • In your tradition, how much opportunity does the congregation get to meet the candidate before a decision is made?
    I feel our guy managed to pull the wool over our eyes. Yet when a vacancy has lasted three years, a sense of “ s/he must be the one” prevails, especially when everyone has been praying that the right person will come forward.
  • Just wondering - is your chap formerly an Archdeacon? He sounds like someone I used to know, who has now returned to Parish ministry. If so, PM me if you want to chat.
  • Just wondering - is your chap formerly an Archdeacon? He sounds like someone I used to know, who has now returned to Parish ministry. If so, PM me if you want to chat.

    In fairness, the incumbent sounds like quite a lot of archdeacons. :naughty:
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    In your tradition, how much opportunity does the congregation get to meet the candidate before a decision is made?
    A bit of a tangent but the usual sequence would be:

    - Regional Minister sends church profile to candidate and candidate profile to church.

    - If interested, church makes contact and invites candidate (usually with spouse if they are married) for an informal visit, look round and chat with leaders.

    - [This stage doesn't always happen] If this first chat goes well, the candidate is invited down to conduct worship - among ministers this is known as "preaching with a squint". At this point the congregation don't know that the candidate is a possible future minister, they just think s/he is another visiting preacher. This enables the candidate to get a feel for things and decide if they wish to continue; equally the church leaders will take "soundings" around the congregation, and later discuss at a congregational meeting, to see if folk want to proceed further.

    - A more formal occasion, often known as "preaching with a view (to the ministry)" is then arranged. Typically this will include a formal interview with the church leaders, a [further] opportunity to conduct worship, and a Q&A with the congregation.

    - If the candidate is still interested, the church will discuss the situation at a congregational meeting; they will then, if they wish, issue a formal "call".

    You will appreciate that this can take some time. In my present situation, after a previous "false start" with another church, initial contact was made in early summer and the call was issued in November with us moving in March (I had to give notice to my previous church and we had house to buy!)

  • Presbyterian ministers in Scotland talk about 'receiving a call' to a particular parish.
    I remember thinking when I was much younger that the 'call' came directly from God. (I didn't know anything about it being a call from the congregation).
    Of course I now appreciate that it may come indirectly from God via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amongst the members of the congregation.
    (In the same way I used to believe that Mary Tudor did actually have 'Calais' engraved upon her heart, when they opened her up after death).
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    A little more information:
    like me, this guy, P, has been struggling with the many changes our incumbent has made since he arrived, especially the dumbing down of the liturgy, reduction of the music side and much more, all in the name of being more attractive to young families. ( In two years we have two new families who come regularly, one lot who moved into the parish, and one through baptism. We have lost about twelve people through old age, illness or death, and a further six have left through dissatisfaction, maybe more.)

    P is in his early eighties but very fit and active. A loyal choir member, generous financially, and having no living relatives, he intends leaving a substantial legacy to the church. When the incumbent informed the choir there would be no service of Lessons and Carols this year, this proved to be the Last Straw, and P informed the Vicar that he intends to worship elsewhere on Sundays. This produced the response that he must write a letter of resignation from the PCC. I am not sure whether there were any witnesses. P lives in the parish. He told me
    ( not sure if he told the incumbent ) that he had no intention of withdrawing his various contributions, financial and practical, to the church, and planned to continue to attend the midweek HC. He does not wish to resign.

    P’s latest idea is to request a secret ballot at the next PCC meeting as to whether he should resign or stay on the PCC. I very much doubt if I can get him to speak to the Area Dean or anyone from the Diocese, though I wouldn’t put it past him to try to ring the Bishop!
    Quite separately, I am intending to resign myself after / at the next PCC meeting. I will have shed my one remaining church “ job” by then. Enough is enough. It might have been sooner, but I intend to support P.

    There is, then, much much more to this than meets the eye. Speaking as someone who has worked (and still works) with churches with conflict, it is far better when it is all in the light. No secret ballots, no conversations creating little cliques - that's as bad as a leader who doesn't consult.

    OK an assessment based on what I read above. P is loyal, generous and involved. But, on whose terms? Has he kicked against things before? If so presumably he won otherwise he wouldn't be there. Does he hold the church to ransom … why for example did he even mention the legacy? (Plenty of people leave money to a church but don't mention it lest people view them differently). OK you don't like a service being cancelled -- did he ask why? Is it all about what P does or likes/dislikes or there a theological difference under the surface.

    P will have his cake and eat it …. just enough passive interaction to sit on the sidelines: enough to make the Vicar uncomfortable. But by doing so, you give the Vicar a focus for action. OK P may be supporting the church in some ways but they are on His terms and no one else's. is that a good attitude to have?

    What change would the PCC be prepared to accept? After 3 years you may be desperate but you should have been and should be honest. If the Vicar seemingly is a bit of a chameleon is it not possible that the church has been too? Signally an openness to consider change but when it comes, it's never the right sort is it?

    There is only one side of the conversation here. Did it happen as stated? Did it happen at all? Can you have a foot in two camps waiting for one to "break" before coming back? Perhaps the Vicar responded to a threat of resignation by saying "well if that's how you feel then I accept it …." and then P goes lairy because he was expecting the Vicar to climb down. (The latter has happened to me, only to discover later that it was the person's MO of getting their own way).
  • An interesting take, ExclamationMark. I wasn’t there, but was told what happened first hand by P. He did not threaten to resign. He did not want to resign. He did not mention the legacy, only to me.
    He is a traditionalist, a keen musician, with strong views and will speak his mind, but has not previously taken his bat home when things have not gone his way. He has always been loyal. I don’t recognise the person you describe, sorry.
  • OK an assessment based on what I read above. P is loyal, generous and involved. But, on whose terms? Has he kicked against things before? If so presumably he won otherwise he wouldn't be there. Does he hold the church to ransom … why for example did he even mention the legacy? (Plenty of people leave money to a church but don't mention it lest people view them differently). OK you don't like a service being cancelled -- did he ask why? Is it all about what P does or likes/dislikes or there a theological difference under the surface.

    I agree with you that secret ballots and cliques are a bad idea. My recommendation is for P to not resign, and to say if asked that he has no intention of resigning. He should just keep turning up to PCC meetings and doing his job.

    How much does your last sentence matter? Puzzler has said that the new incumbent is changing the main Sunday service away from a more traditional (he'd probably say "old fashioned") style, in an attempt to attract younger families. This much is agreed by everyone.

    Puzzler has claimed that the priest is doing this in a rather high-handed unilateral manner that differs significantly from his stated intentions when he was being considered for the post, and says that P agrees. This may or may not be coloured by Puzzler's own personal views - at any rate, it is clear that P is unhappy with the dilution of formal liturgy and abandonment of traditional music in the Sunday service.

    Does it matter whether P's dispute with the priest is over the style of the service or the content of the sermons? Why should P compel himself to remain if the priest replaces the organ with a percussion ensemble, but feel free to leave if he denies Real Presence?

    By Puzzler's report, P does not like the changes made to the service, has done his best to stick them out, and now finds that the changes have gone one step too far, and that he'll be far more able to worship in a different environment on a Sunday. Nevertheless, this remains his parish church, and he intends to continue to attend the midweek communion (no doubt a small, probably spoken service, probably untouched by the priest's desire for changes) and otherwise remain involved in the life of the parish. He seems to firmly view the parish as his home, but can't stand what now happens on a Sunday morning.

    He is not, by Puzzler's account, threatening to take his ball and go home - he's just told the priest that he's unhappy with the degree of change to the Sunday service, and feels compelled to worship somewhere more congenial on a Sunday morning.

    I see no reason to expect him to resign from the PCC. He's still worshipping regularly in the parish. He lives in the parish. There's no reason to remove him from the electoral roll.
  • I feel bound to ask why any incumbent would not want a Carol Service since this is guaranteed to be one of the few services which will get support not just from the established congregation but from the wider community with virtually no effort required from the clergy - in short it can act as a good advert for the church.

    What does the new incumbent have against a Carol Service? Does he plan to put another service in its place? Is it likely to have the same appeal? Or is it a simple objection because he feels disinclined to "do" another service when normally he'd be at home with his feet up?

    Bottom line: if it isn't the service the incumbent objects to but his having to be present, would he be happy for it to go ahead with, say, a Lay Reader in charge? If so then I'd counsel that the Carol Service go ahead: if the wider community remark on the cleric not being there that isn't anyone's problem but his.
  • Agreed, TheOrganist.
    I don’t follow his thinking either.
    An alternative style and time has been proposed by the priest much earlier in December ( without discussion with the DoM) which may or may not be popular, and one of the Wardens has talked about the priest’s workload. “Proposed” means a fait accompli, because that’s how it works, nowadays. Advent will virtually disappear this year.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    Sounds like someone "has issues." Looking at this from an incumbent's point of view I would say yours has an inflated sense of something or another, and needs to learn to work with the representatives of the local congregation. The alternative is that he will leave a string of badly damaged parishes behind him unless he has a sure-fire way of refilling churches once he has emptied them.

    In my last parish I usually made a point of running changes past the Vestry (our equivalent to the PCC) and seeing what the reaction was. If the reaction was adverse I would back off; if the reaction was dubious then I would suggest we try it for 4, 8, 12/13 weeks and then discuss it again; if the reaction was positive then I counted my blessings. However, I will admit I did tend to operate within the existing traditional of the parish and to leave the main Sunday morning service along except for generally tightening up the presentation. I also quietly eliminating the borrowings from the Roman Missal. My line of thinking was that I do not want to be drawn to the bishop's attention, and at the end of the day, I have to live with these people.

    After that my next job was as an interim Rector, and it was horrible. The Vestry was badly infected with playing favourites, and had no problem running my wife out of the parish when one of the favourites decided she did not like the Missus. The main reason being that Mrs PDR is retired law enforcement, and the 'favourite' in question had been in the deep and murky for fraud. In theory I should have been ideal for the parish being 'central to low' in churchmanship, but the honeymoon period lasted only as long as the local heroes were in the federal pen. After that the local personality issues, secret meetings, and general bitchiness made it unworkable. I did my year and moved on. My wife spent a few months as a temporary Lutheran until my time was up. We live and learn.

    I hope something gives soon, and that it is not your sanity!
  • I feel bound to ask why any incumbent would not want a Carol Service since this is guaranteed to be one of the few services which will get support not just from the established congregation but from the wider community with virtually no effort required from the clergy - in short it can act as a good advert for the church.
    I don't disagree - but it doesn't have to be the "King's College" style of service which can be a bit formal and "precious" (yes, I know it was originally designed, back in Truro, to be a "popular" service but it seems to have become much more solemn!)

  • PoppyPoppy Shipmate Posts: 20
    I have some sympathy with Puzzler’s incumbent. The governance side of parish life is not taught in theological college and if a curacy is served in a large church with efficient church wardens and paid staff then the realities of working in a smaller church with its unique history, custom and practice is going to be a challenge. That said voting out a PCC member is unwise and seeking advice from the area dean or equivalent might be a good idea. Perhaps the area dean could chair this contentious PCC meeting?

    In my first parish for various complex reasons governance had not happened for many years apart from a veneer to keep the Diocese off their backs so we had to start from scratch with a purchase of the Church Representation Rules and a book on Practical Church Management by Behrens. These were invaluable in working out what we could and couldn’t do and good practice. It may be worth investing in a copy.

    It sounds as if relationships in the church are breaking down in a significant way. There is the option to walk away. There is also the option to pursue mediation and conflict resolution through an organisation like Bridge Builders or an in-house version from the Diocese.



  • Puzzler wrote: »
    An interesting take, ExclamationMark. I wasn’t there, but was told what happened first hand by P. He did not threaten to resign. He did not want to resign. He did not mention the legacy, only to me.
    He is a traditionalist, a keen musician, with strong views and will speak his mind, but has not previously taken his bat home when things have not gone his way. He has always been loyal. I don’t recognise the person you describe, sorry.

    Ok let me take what you say from a forensic POV (no issues against you should I say -- looking at the evidence you provide).

    1. You are basing this all on what P says which is, unproven and not corroborated elsewhere.

    2. You have your own issues with the Vicar … P knows this and might perhaps be feeding this with a mixture of lots of stuff you can prove but with one or two dangerous extras larded in

    3. He's a traditionalist with strong views and is vocal. No everyone receives such a character in the same way … what was acceptable to a previous Vicar or his friends may be seen as rudeness or something else to someone who is new on the scene (it's a sort of syndrome that excuses behaviour by saying that only old so and so, that's the way he does it: what is done or how it's done may be acceptable in the immediate context by virtue of long use, but wholly unacceptable in other contexts). Sometimes that forcefulness has been colluded with over many years and those around don't notice it

    4. I'm not saying the Vicar isn't at fault. He is. Understand though, that from both sides, expectations of how a new ministry will work out, will not be borne out in practice. Everyone needs to be big enough to adjust.

    5. What's the beef with the Carol Service? Why is he cancelling it (if indeed he is, is it simply being chnaged)? is this a sign of the deeper malaise that affects your fellowship?

    6. The journey to settlement is always instructive. Yours has been long, seemingly not by choice. There's possibly unfinished business over the process not just the outcome and its being projected onto the Vicar. It would have been the same whoever once he/she did one small thing that annoyed enough people with sufficient influence.

    7. As far as you know he has only mentioned the legacy to you. You do not know whether he has mentioned it or similar things to others. Why mention it at all?

    8. It isn't the Vicar's church, nor P's nor the PCC's come to that. What does and what has prayer told you about the circumstances?
  • OK an assessment based on what I read above. P is loyal, generous and involved. But, on whose terms? Has he kicked against things before? If so presumably he won otherwise he wouldn't be there. Does he hold the church to ransom … why for example did he even mention the legacy? (Plenty of people leave money to a church but don't mention it lest people view them differently). OK you don't like a service being cancelled -- did he ask why? Is it all about what P does or likes/dislikes or there a theological difference under the surface.

    1. How much does your last sentence matter? Puzzler has said that the new incumbent is changing the main Sunday service away from a more traditional (he'd probably say "old fashioned") style, in an attempt to attract younger families. This much is agreed by everyone.

    2. Puzzler has claimed that the priest is doing this in a rather high-handed unilateral manner that differs significantly from his stated intentions when he was being considered for the post, and says that P agrees. This may or may not be coloured by Puzzler's own personal views - at any rate, it is clear that P is unhappy with the dilution of formal liturgy and abandonment of traditional music in the Sunday service.

    3. Does it matter whether P's dispute with the priest is over the style of the service or the content of the sermons? Why should P compel himself to remain if the priest replaces the organ with a percussion ensemble, but feel free to leave if he denies Real Presence?

    By Puzzler's report, P does not like the changes made to the service, has done his best to stick them out, and now finds that the changes have gone one step too far, and that he'll be far more able to worship in a different environment on a Sunday. Nevertheless, this remains his parish church, and he intends to continue to attend the midweek communion (no doubt a small, probably spoken service, probably untouched by the priest's desire for changes) and otherwise remain involved in the life of the parish. He seems to firmly view the parish as his home, but can't stand what now happens on a Sunday morning.

    He is not, by Puzzler's account, threatening to take his ball and go home - he's just told the priest that he's unhappy with the degree of change to the Sunday service, and feels compelled to worship somewhere more congenial on a Sunday morning.

    4. I see no reason to expect him to resign from the PCC. He's still worshipping regularly in the parish. He lives in the parish. There's no reason to remove him from the electoral roll.

    1. It matters only to the point of recognising that this is not a theological question as such but an issue based around preferences.

    2. That is the claim and it will be true - as least from the claimant's point of view. The Vicar may probably describe it differently. Nevertheless it is a view to take into account and to seek resolution over, to find common ground - but both will need to shift for that to happen. It is not a game of chicken and who blinks first.

    3. No it doesn't. But I cannot see how you can have such significant issues with the Sunday services and remain on the PCC , if you are not attending. P wants his cake and to eat it too presumably returning once the Vicar leaves, in triumph. It would be very interesting to hear how other members of the church view P, as opposed to Puzzler and his close circle of friends. That will be instructive. If they see P as Puzzler and his friends do, then it's there's ground to the concerns. If they see him in some other way as an interferer who speaks his mind bluntly and won't consider any changes or relate to others who don't think/act like him then I'm more bothered.

    4. That's always assuming what we are being told is right. P may have said to the Vicar "ok if you say/do this I'm resigning" and the Vicar may have responded "ok then, you said it". I have done the same - I mean what I say and assume others do, if I see them and treat them as adults. There is the possibility that this is P's modus operandi to resists change, that he's done it before with a Vicar who in private has buckled. It's bog standard manipulation then.

    If he has been asked to resign from the PCC - then if he's not at a main worship service (Sunday) then how can he be said that he's really serving all of God's people, most of whom will not be at a midweek service. Election to a PCC is to serve all, not a few and certainly not representing specific interest groups.
  • When there are troubles in a parish there are structures designed to help. Never mind who is "right" and who is "wrong", people here need help. I would start with your Rural/Area Dean and go from there.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    When there are troubles in a parish there are structures designed to help. Never mind who is "right" and who is "wrong", people here need help. I would start with your Rural/Area Dean and go from there.

    I wish you were right but recent experience in 2 parishes in our deanery is that the "structures" don't understand what they can do and in any case are reluctant to even try to help. In the case of the Rural Dean its understandable - after all it is a fellow cleric they're being asked to adjudicate on. But when the Archdeacon is equally disinclined to meet, listen or attend any meetings parishes are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
  • TO, that's appalling. I'm stuck for anything useful to say.
  • Take it right upstairs, to the Bishop?
    :scream:

    Meanwhile, in Puzzler's case, I agree that the thing to do is to get the Area/Rural Dean involved. S/he may, of course, already be aware of at least the Vicar's side of things, but, as ExclamationMark has pertinently pointed out, there are TWO sides to the matter!
  • I do appreciate all points of view expressed and advice given. Thank you.
    I am not sure which is making me more sad and weary: this church business or Brexit ( just been watching the debate in the Commons on TV).
    Both are toxic and will have serious consequences, whatever I personally think or do or say.
  • Candles for Puzzler. I know that sad and weary feeling.
  • Dear God, yes.

    I dunno - it seems as though the Brex**it debacle has affected every aspect of our national life, including that of the church.

    A toxic year indeed...

    ...but even Bad Things come to an end eventually.
  • Or so one must fervently hope.
  • 3. No it doesn't. But I cannot see how you can have such significant issues with the Sunday services and remain on the PCC , if you are not attending.

    [..]

    If he has been asked to resign from the PCC - then if he's not at a main worship service (Sunday) then how can he be said that he's really serving all of God's people, most of whom will not be at a midweek service. Election to a PCC is to serve all, not a few and certainly not representing specific interest groups.

    I'm not sure I agree with this point. Surely a good PCC should represent the whole parish, and provide a representative range of viewpoints? The majority of the PCC will surely be regular Sunday attenders - I don't see how having one member who attends midweek but not on Sunday is a problem. The church is not just its Sunday service.

    What of churches that offer two services on a Sunday - perhaps the main service with all the music, and a shorter spoken service early in the morning. Would you argue that people who regularly attend the early morning service shouldn't serve on the PCC because they don't attend the main service?

  • Quite. We have one member who only attends the early HC BCP service.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    For a while in my last parish a majority of those on the vestry were early birds. They tended to be the more 'rock steady' members, whilst the later service saw more turn over, and tended to consist of folks who did not have time on top of a job, kids, and other commitments to mess around with the vestry.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    Presbyterian ministers in Scotland talk about 'receiving a call' to a particular parish.
    So far as I know, that’s standard Presbyterian terminology everywhere. Here, aside from speaking of receiving a call from or being called by a parish/congregation, the salary, benefits and other remuneration that the congregation agrees to pay or provide the minister are referred to as “the terms of call.”

  • I am aware that that is fairly standard terminology .I was trying to explain how I, as an outsider, interpreted these words or rather thought about how others interpreted them.

    When I heard people say that such and such a minister had 'received a call' I imagined that it came more or less directly from the Holy Spirit rather than from the vacancy committee.
  • In some Evangelical missionary circles, that indeed does seem to be the way the term is interpreted.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    I am aware that that is fairly standard terminology .I was trying to explain how I, as an outsider, interpreted these words or rather thought about how others interpreted them.

    When I heard people say that such and such a minister had 'received a call' I imagined that it came more or less directly from the Holy Spirit rather than from the vacancy committee.

    Having recently been involved with a nominating committee I'm going to channel Gamaliel and suggest that it is both/and, not either/or. The ideal situation is that both minister and committee, and ultimately congregation, feel that the Holy Spirit is calling that minister, at that time and in that place, and that the congregation expresses that call to the minister.
  • 3. No it doesn't. But I cannot see how you can have such significant issues with the Sunday services and remain on the PCC , if you are not attending.

    [..]

    If he has been asked to resign from the PCC - then if he's not at a main worship service (Sunday) then how can he be said that he's really serving all of God's people, most of whom will not be at a midweek service. Election to a PCC is to serve all, not a few and certainly not representing specific interest groups.

    I'm not sure I agree with this point. Surely a good PCC should represent the whole parish, and provide a representative range of viewpoints? The majority of the PCC will surely be regular Sunday attenders - I don't see how having one member who attends midweek but not on Sunday is a problem. The church is not just its Sunday service.

    I agree with LC. It’s very easy for the church to become very focussed on the Sunday morning “main” service, for eg, if that’s what it is, especially if this is the one most attended, and especially if your church equates numbers with success. I would rather like someone who only attended midweek communion to be on our PCC.

    Taking what TheOrganist says on board (and my sympathies, that sounds appalling), I would like to offer my experience. We were graced with a very destructive rector some 10 years ago (when I joined the ship, as it happens!) who tried to force through changes and bullied those who disagreed with him. I was on the PCC at the time. I had no idea of the existence of the area / rural dean, or of the archdeacon, and no idea of their function, or how they might be able to help resolve the issues, or at least get people talking and gather some information. I don’t think my lack of knowledge was uncommon in the church - there was a sense among many of us that “this is awful but what can we do?” I wish I had known, and wish I had gone to the dean or archdeacon. It might have saved a lot of grief.
  • Several years ago my home church, where I still have many friends, had a very difficult man as vicar. I had many people getting in touch with me, asking me to complain to the Bishop, because I was clergy and would be listened to. I tried to explain that my views would not be listened to, but theirs would. This was to no avail, and most of them left the congregation. The other local churches grew significantly during this man's reign.
  • I had a chat with P this morning as we both independently opted to worship in a neighbouring parish, and thoroughly appreciated the proper way in which the service was led. We shared our regrets at what we have lost and what we are expected to put up with back in our parish.
    P said he does not know what to do. It is a huge decision for him to give up Sunday worship in his parish church, where he and at least four generations of his family before him have worshipped all their lives. I am a relative newcomer, yet I feel his pain.

    He did not reiterate his idea of a secret ballot at the next PCC meeting, but I did ask him if he was considering putting an item on the agenda, rather than bringing it up under AOB which he often does. Food for thought. That is as far as we got today.
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