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APCMs and PCCs

Information and resources for holding your Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM).

Your parish / benefice is required to hold an Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) between Jan 1st and May 31st each year. You can read below a brief explanation of the APCM, Electoral Roll and the purpose of membership of a Parochial Church Council (PCC).

Further advice, together with customisable versions of the statutory forms and notices can be found on the Parish Resources website.

The Annual Meeting of Parishoners

Unlike other parochial elections, churchwardens are not elected by the APCM, but by a separate meeting of parishioners usually held immediately before the APCM. The meeting of parishioners is a joint meeting of 

  • the persons whose names are entered on the church electoral roll of the parish and 
  • the persons resident in the parish whose names are entered on a register of local government electors by reason of such residence. It is normal for both meetings to be held on the same date.

The Statutory Notice for the APCM as laid down in the Rules makes no provision for the meeting of parishioners, so there have to be two notices. The Statutory Notice as laid down by the Rules is available below; also available are a Notice and a nomination form which satisfy the Churchwardens Measure 2001. Both Notices have to be displayed for a period including the two Sundays before the day of the Meeting.

Note also that the Election of Churchwardens can be attended by people who are not on the Electoral Roll. They can attend and vote, but are not entitled to attend the APCM and they may be excluded from that meeting. By the same token, there is nothing to stop a parish allowing such people to attend the APCM, and this may be pastorally advantageous.

If there is doubt about the validity of someone’s vote, a suitable procedure could be:

  • the minister should object to the conduct of the election by show of hands, and the election should be conducted with ballot papers. Ballot papers must be signed on the back.
  • the vote should be taken and ballots counted
  • if ballots of doubtful validity will have a material effect on the result of the vote, declaration of the result should be deferred until the eligibility of the voter has been verified. This can be done by inspecting the Full Register which must be made available by the Electoral Registration Officer, usually at the Council Offices or often at main libraries.

Prospective churchwardens must be actual communicants, aged at least 21 years of age, whose names are on the church electoral roll of the parish, and who are not disqualified from holding the office; residence in the parish is not sufficient.

Unless an Annual Meeting determines otherwise, Churchwardens may serve for a maximum of six years from their election; if they do not retire before the end of six years, those who have served continuously must then have two years ‘off’ before becoming eligible to stand for election again.

Parochial Church Meeting (APCM)

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting is open to anyone on the electoral roll and those clergy who are licenced to the parish or habitually worship in the parish.

In addition to the requirement to elect representatives of the laity to the PCC and the Deanery Synod (usually for a 3yr term), the following reports must be provided to the meeting for discussion and/or approval:

  • a report on the changes to the electoral roll since the last annual meeting
  • an annual report on the proceedings of the PCC and the activities of the parish generally,
  • the financial statements of the PCC for the year ending on the 31 December preceding the meeting,
  • the annual fabric report under section 50 of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018, and
  • a report of the proceedings of the deanery synod.

Electoral Roll

The Electoral Roll is a list of names and addresses of every person who can vote in the annual parochial church meeting. It is revised annually but is replaced in its entirety every six years (counting from 2007); the Roll created in 2019 will be replaced with a brand-new roll again in 2025.

No-one over 18 can be elected to the PCC until they have been members of the Roll for six months. This does not apply to young people under the age of 18, who can be elected to the PCC from their 16th birthday.

Membership of the Parochial Church Council (PCC)

The PCC is the body that, with the minister, steers the life of the church in its mission, witness and service in the parish. The PCC’s role is governed by law (the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956).  It is a charitable trust and PCC members are charitable trustees, and so all the provisions of charity law apply to their corporate responsibilities, financial management and decision making.

This is true whether or not the charity is registered with the Charity Commissioners. You cannot be a PCC member if by law you are not permitted to be a trustee.

  • The parish priest, and any ordained minister or deaconess or layworker licensed to the parish;
  • Any other member of the Team in a team ministry;
  • The Churchwardens (and deputy wardens, if permitted);
  • Any Readers licensed to the parish and whom the Annual Meeting has appointed to the PCC;
  • Members of the Roll who are members of Deanery, Diocesan or General Synods

Any lay member in the above list can also be a member as an elected lay representative. For example, an existing elected member could become churchwarden in the middle of their term of membership. That member would fill one of the places in the elected membership as well as an ex-officio position. However no person may have more than one vote (except the chairman when a casting vote is needed). A person who is appointed to an ex-officio position may choose to resign their elected membership and have that vacancy filled by someone else, but there is no requirement to do so.

Visit our Church Officers page to find out more about the role of officers within a PCC