What is the role of a PCC member?

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  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I'm trying to oversee a similar catastrophe in my region ... any hints appreciated as I try to conflict resolve a lot of nastiness :cry:
  • Zappa wrote: »
    I'm trying to oversee a similar catastrophe in my region ... any hints appreciated as I try to conflict resolve a lot of nastiness :cry:

    I suppose taking off and nuking the site from orbit has already been ruled out?
  • Zappa, you aren't any old Ship Host, but an Ecclesiatincs Host! Surely your authority will be accepted in every church dispute. No? Prayers.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    :lol: - and thanks ... much needed
  • I'd still advise caution until we know the facts. Yes there is hurt being expressed here but it may also being caused elsewhere. The third party mediator is the right route
  • Agreed. Praying for all involved in this.
  • I had a call last night from a friend (fellow organist) who has just been given a tongue-lashing for having the temerity to ask their diocesan bishop (a personal friend) to add their PP to his prayer list because said PP has collapsed and is obviously very unwell. One of the churchwardens is up-in-arms about this and called my friend to say it "went against protocol" for someone other than the wardens to "inform" the bishop or archdeacon of the illness of the PP.

    As my friend said, so now one isn't allowed to ask for people to be prayed for???? :rage:
  • Fawkes CatFawkes Cat Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    I had a call last night from a friend (fellow organist) who has just been given a tongue-lashing for having the temerity to ask their diocesan bishop (a personal friend) to add their PP to his prayer list because said PP has collapsed and is obviously very unwell. One of the churchwardens is up-in-arms about this and called my friend to say it "went against protocol" for someone other than the wardens to "inform" the bishop or archdeacon of the illness of the PP.

    As my friend said, so now one isn't allowed to ask for people to be prayed for???? :rage:

    Oh dear.

    I imagine that everyone (TheOrganist's friend, the churchwardens, in particular the unwell priest) is feeling a little fragile - if nothing else having a priest drop out of availability just before all the Christmas services is going to give the churchwardens quite a challenge in finding cover. In the circumstances, people being a bit snappy may not be excusable, but it is perhaps understandable.

    Can your friend (and the churchwarden) be reassured that the friend wasn't informing the bishop - he was just asking a friend for prayerful support: +friend will only know about the absence officially when they are officially told by the wardens (although having said that, if there's a need to get clergy cover for various services, you'd have thought that the wardens would be sensible to escalate the matter at least to the area Dean pdq).
  • I don’t know about protocol, and I hold no office in the church, but if my name had been added to a prayer list without my express consent, I’d be livid.
  • It depends, I think, on whether that prayer list is made public. If the bishop was being asked to pray personally for someone, in private, surely there can be no objection to that.

    We are always very careful in this respect, and only put names (and then first names only) on our pew sheet IF consent has been given.

    As to problems re clergy cover for services, yes, the Area Dean should be consulted, even if the wardens do have some retired clergy they can turn to.
  • I had a call last night from a friend (fellow organist) who has just been given a tongue-lashing for having the temerity to ask their diocesan bishop (a personal friend) to add their PP to his prayer list because said PP has collapsed and is obviously very unwell. One of the churchwardens is up-in-arms about this and called my friend to say it "went against protocol" for someone other than the wardens to "inform" the bishop or archdeacon of the illness of the PP.

    As my friend said, so now one isn't allowed to ask for people to be prayed for???? :rage:

    Seems like someone should not be holding a churchwardens position to me and that he too is in need of prayer.
  • It depends, I think, on whether that prayer list is made public. If the bishop was being asked to pray personally for someone, in private, surely there can be no objection to that.

    Yes, that’s an important distinction. I’m still slightly cautious, though, because I’ve known in the past matters passed on “for prayer” which are basically gossip.
  • It depends, I think, on whether that prayer list is made public. If the bishop was being asked to pray personally for someone, in private, surely there can be no objection to that.

    Yes, that’s an important distinction. I’m still slightly cautious, though, because I’ve known in the past matters passed on “for prayer” which are basically gossip.

    Yes that's very true. I always ask for permission to either pray personally or to do so publicly. With the church prayer set up, I always agree the text of the message that is being sent with the person in need
  • I don’t know about protocol, and I hold no office in the church, but if my name had been added to a prayer list without my express consent, I’d be livid.

    Which is certainly your right. I usually ask people who want to add someone on the list if the person involved is aware of the wish.

    Some people, of course, are added to prayer lists because their loved ones have asked for them to be prayed for by the church. Sadly, we have a few on our list who are, mentally speaking, beyond any possibility of giving express consent to anything, but whose family feel supported and loved, in knowing that their loved one is being respectfully remembered in church prayers.

    For myself, if I found myself on a prayer list for the sick or 'in need', I'd probably be a bit bemused, right enough. But I'd take it as kindly meant, unless there were specific reasons why I should be suspicious about it. Eg, if I had in confidence told someone I were ill or struggling or something.
  • Anselmina wrote: »
    I don’t know about protocol, and I hold no office in the church, but if my name had been added to a prayer list without my express consent, I’d be livid.

    Which is certainly your right. I usually ask people who want to add someone on the list if the person involved is aware of the wish.

    Some people, of course, are added to prayer lists because their loved ones have asked for them to be prayed for by the church. Sadly, we have a few on our list who are, mentally speaking, beyond any possibility of giving express consent to anything, but whose family feel supported and loved, in knowing that their loved one is being respectfully remembered in church prayers.

    For myself, if I found myself on a prayer list for the sick or 'in need', I'd probably be a bit bemused, right enough. But I'd take it as kindly meant, unless there were specific reasons why I should be suspicious about it. Eg, if I had in confidence told someone I were ill or struggling or something.

    I think those who are beyond possibility of giving express consent are perhaps likely to be not that concerned or aware of their presence on the list, so that troubles me less.

    Hearing mine and my siblings’ names read out whilst I was in church (on music duty, so visible) to do with comfort in the death of our mother, at a random point, many months after the event, when I had no idea we were on the list, was irritating, to say the least. My Dad had put our names on it, together with his own (which was fine, ofc!) without even mentioning it to us, much less asking how we were grieving, or whether we wanted to be prayed for.
  • Just dropping in to say that one of the roles of a PCC member might be to accept the situation when it all gets too much, and to resign!

    I have today done just that.

    Having received the Agenda for next week's meeting, I've decided that, in my current state of Elf, I simply can't deal with all the issues that have arisen, or are likely to arise - not to mention the personality clashes with two other esteemed members (good people, both)...

    Father NewPriest has gracefully accepted my resignation - he says he's saddened, but not surprised - and I'm confident in his leadership of the PCC, and the congregation.
  • Sounds like a very sensible decision. (While I'm deeply grateful for all the excellent people who agree to be on the PCC, I can't think why anyone in their right mind would say yes to it.)
  • ArethosemyfeetArethosemyfeet Shipmate
    edited January 7
    Sounds like a very sensible decision. (While I'm deeply grateful for all the excellent people who agree to be on the PCC, I can't think why anyone in their right mind would say yes to it.)

    In most parishes I have resided in, it (or its equivalent) was unavoidable if one was considered compos mentis by the priest or minister in charge. Clerical arm-twisting is hard to resist for all but the most stalwart.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    edited January 7
    In all my years of parish ministry I rarely twisted arms (metaphorically - never literally. Much). In many Australian dioceses the Incumbent has right of appointment of one third of the vestry/PCC anyway.

    I've worked with one or two pretty hairy and one downright hostile PCC. In my current role I'm about to wade in where angels fear to try and help one vestry overcome its toxicity and others know what their role is. I'll just point them to this thread :mrgreen:


    Edit: "where" ... not "wear" :smirk:
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Zappa wrote: »
    In all my years of parish ministry I rarely twisted arms (metaphorically - never literally. Much). In many Australian dioceses the Incumbent has right of appointment of one third of the vestry/PCC anyway. ....
    Wow! Really?

    PCCs here are elected by parishioners on the electoral roll.

    There are two churchwardens. At one time, one was appointed by the vicar and one elected by residents in the parish. I'm not sure whether it's still even possible for a vicar to demand his or her right of appointment. Throughout my adult lifetime, they have both been elected.

    For historical reasons, residents in the parish can vote for churchwardens even if they aren't on the electoral roll. However, as both PCC members and churchwardens are elected as part of the same series of meetings, it's unusual for this to have a significant effect on the result.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    From The Churchwardens Measure 2001
    If it appears to the minister of the parish that the election of any particular person nominated might give rise to serious difficulties between the minister and that person in the carrying out of their respective functions the minister may, before the election is conducted, make a statement to the effect that only one churchwarden is to be elected by the meeting. In that event one churchwarden shall be appointed by the minister from among the persons nominated, the name of the person so appointed being announced before the election is conducted, and the other shall then be elected by the meeting.
    It wouldn’t be a good place to be.
  • Ah yes - the 'People's Warden', and the 'Vicar's Warden' of Days Gone By.

    AFAIK, this no longer applies, and, as Enoch says, both are elected. In any case, vicars/priests-in-charge come and go at frequent intervals in many parishes these days, sometimes with long interregna, and the churchwardens can often provide a good degree of continuity and stability.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    In Sydney (and going by the general rule, some variations for multi-church parishes etc) there are 3 wardens; one appointed by the rector and 2 elected at the annual parish general meeting. Up to a dozen members of the Parish Council - the 3 wardens, a member appointed by the rector and the rest elected at the same meeting. The rector of course and any additional clergy can attend but have no vote. No person paid by the parish, apart from the rector, can be a member.
  • I know churches that haven't had Wardens for years, as they can't find anyone to stand. It is a job that takes a lot of time; I worry that mine work too hard.
  • Yes, I recall now that our neighbouring parish functioned for some years with just one warden, and a priest who was on sick leave for 18 months (on and off) over a two-year incumbency.

    TBTG, they had (and still have) a very supportive laity, and a fine team of Lay Ministers, but it wasn't feasible for any of the latter to be churchwarden as well.
  • Even in relatively large parishes I have generally only known new wardens recruited by the aforementioned rotation of the upper limbs.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    Even in relatively large parishes I have generally only known new wardens recruited by the aforementioned rotation of the upper limbs.

    Agreed. I can't recall that an abundance of candidates has ever required an actual vote at Our Place, and the electoral roll is 200+
  • It seems I have resigned just in time!

    The PCC is today running around, squawking 'O Calamity!', as an infestation of Mice has been found in our church hall.
    :grimace:
    Darda wrote: »
    Even in relatively large parishes I have generally only known new wardens recruited by the aforementioned rotation of the upper limbs.

    Agreed. I can't recall that an abundance of candidates has ever required an actual vote at Our Place, and the electoral roll is 200+

    I can't recall a vote, either, and one of the churches I was involved with many years ago had an ER of over 300.

  • I'm sure you didn't vote for the Small Rodents to be allowed free reign in the Hall ...
  • :lol:

    Indeed not. Now, if they want to form a Study Group, to talk about Cheeses, fair enough...

    Seriously, though, this may be an opportunity for Father NewPriest to tighten things up a bit, as the hall has in the past been run by a husband-and-wife team, who regard it as almost their own personal property.

    With various Health & Safety issues becoming ever more important, now is the time for a properly-constituted PCC sub-committee to be set up.
  • Indeed it is ... but the PCC treads on the toes of said couple at its peril! Far too many churches have "personal fiefdoms", but they are hard to dismantle. Even when those who run them constantly complain of the stress and strain they endure while doing so, they are unlikely to relinquish them.
  • Far too many churches have "personal fiefdoms", but they are hard to dismantle. Even when those who run them constantly complain of the stress and strain they endure while doing so, they are unlikely to relinquish them.

    But nobody else would do it right, you see. And Ethel is the only person who knows where the tables go - when someone else tried to help, the tables were just put away any old how.
    No, we always use that pot for the decaf coffee. Caffeinated coffee goes in this pot. Don't put that down there - that's where the biscuits go.
  • O I agree - which is why the said couple will be asked to be major players in the new set-up, I think. The idea is to 'spread the load', as the couple concerned have a number of health issues between them, so reduction of stress and strain may, actually, be welcomed. We hope so, at any rate.

    Thanks for the phrase 'personal fiefdom'. I've heard it before, it was on the tip of my mind, but I just couldn't recall it!
  • It sounds like you’ve done great work on the self-preservation front, there, BF.

    Re: elections, we almost never have elections for PCC members - the only one I can remember is when the rector didn’t realise someone was planning to stand in addition to the 2 people he’d asked to consider it already. This isn’t the rector filling the PCC with “his people” either - it was always a challenge to find people.

    It’s always a significant struggle to find wardens too. I really feel for our current wardens, as we head into an interregnum...
  • Yes, it is indeed sometimes a struggle, and matters will not improve whilst Sunday attendance, and commitment to church life, become ever more fragmented.

    I can recall one or two occasions when persons have kindly offered to serve as warden, which offer has been gratefully received.

    Alas, with all due respect to the persons concerned, they weren't really suitable warden material, and didn't have enough oomph to stand up to the personal fiefdom types, or to galvanise into action the useless incumbent (only concerned with his Domestic Arrangements).

    We do, at the moment, have one warden who takes his duties seriously, but who works full-time, and is therefore not readily available during the week if owt should arise that needs wardenly attention.

    The other warden is available, but has Other Interests, and no personal transport...

    Fortunately, Father NewPriest is very much 'hands-on', and is not afraid of taking Decisive Action when required!

  • Re: elections, we almost never have elections for PCC members - the only one I can remember is when the rector didn’t realise someone was planning to stand in addition to the 2 people he’d asked to consider it already. This isn’t the rector filling the PCC with “his people” either - it was always a challenge to find people.

    I have been at a church which had some carefully organised 'guided democracy' (my phrase, not theirs). If there were five PCC seats to be elected, six arms would be twisted, but with no expectation of the owner of the sixth arm being elected. But the following year, they would be in the top five candidates for that year's seats...
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    Indeed it is ... but the PCC treads on the toes of said couple at its peril! Far too many churches have "personal fiefdoms", but they are hard to dismantle. Even when those who run them constantly complain of the stress and strain they endure while doing so, they are unlikely to relinquish them.

    Boy - ain't that true! The other tendency is what I call dumping; PCCs/Vestries dump things on the incumbent, their spouse, the three and four willing workers until they a mutinous and burnt out.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    It seems I have resigned just in time!

    The PCC is today running around, squawking 'O Calamity!', as an infestation of Mice has been found in our church hall.

    Get a small dog. Far more reliable than any cat, and much more pleasant.
  • Well, I have suggested cat(s) - I hadn't thought of a dog (some sort of terrier, like a Jack Russell?), but it might be worth a try!

    I understand a proper pest-control firm has been called in, though, as we need to get the problem sorted a.s.a.p.
  • What about a boa?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    You won't need anything that large. A small carpet snake would work wonders, and of course quieter than a dog. Then think of the possibilities. It could be built into sermons for a start.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited January 8
    :confounded:

    I personally have no problem with snakes, but I know some people who do. They are on the PCC. They run the Hall. I am seriously tempted....

    :naughty:
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    It seems I have resigned just in time!

    The PCC is today running around, squawking 'O Calamity!', as an infestation of Mice has been found in our church hall.

    Get a small dog. Far more reliable than any cat, and much more pleasant.

    You might find a cat goes native, like Sampson. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_Mice_series]
  • :confounded:

    I personally have no problem with snakes, but I know some people who do. They are on the PCC. They run the Hall. I am seriously tempted....

    :naughty:

    Tempted? By a snake? How Biblical of you!
  • Yes. I hasten to add that I am Decently Clothed, though...
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited January 9
    Following decisive action by Father NewPriest, who set out traps last night, the Corpses of two Mice were duly found, and reverently disposed of in the churchyard after Mass this morning. I don't think the BCP form of service was used.

    The 'active' churchwarden has identified a possible access hole through the wall of the hall, and will block it permanently on Saturday (Father NP has blocked it temporarily with a Brillo pad, on the basis that no self-respecting Mouse would even think of trying to chew through that...).

    The PCC has been nowhere to be seen, or heard, other than to cry 'O woe! O calamity!', which sort of emphasises the importance of having someone 'on the ground', and available - difficult in these days of small congregations, irregular work patterns, or just the age/infirmity/feebleness of those who might otherwise be on hand.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited January 9
    We have an annual mouse invasion at the Vicarage which is disposed of using traps, though our dog - a wire-haired "Jack Russell accident" - will usually scare a couple to death along the way. The mice seem to like pecans, which their undoing, as I have found that a far more effective bait than either cheese or peanut butter (yack!)

    My experience of Vestries over here in the States is that they come in two varieties. They either try and run everything including the minister, which gets tiresome; or they do nothing except moan, which also gets tiresome. My mission committee tends to be very good at giving advice, but not so good at getting things done - i.e. they are good at finding me more jobs to do.
  • Ah yes - the 'People's Warden', and the 'Vicar's Warden' of Days Gone By.

    AFAIK, this no longer applies, and, as Enoch says, both are elected. In any case, vicars/priests-in-charge come and go at frequent intervals in many parishes these days, sometimes with long interregna, and the churchwardens can often provide a good degree of continuity and stability.

    The CofE elects both. But the Church of Ireland and the Scottish Episcopal Church continue with the practice of the vicar selecting a Rector's or Vicar's warden.
  • Ah - I didn't know that.

    In which case, does each incoming vicar choose a 'fresh' Warden, IYSWIM?
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    One of our Wardens has been in post since the year dot, method of selection unknown, the other was effectively chosen by the incumbent last year, and elected unopposed. They are currently running the show whilst himself is on extended leave.
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