The Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM)
It is normal for the Election of Churchwardens and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting to be held at the same time. However, the Statutory Notice for the APCM as laid down in the Rules makes no provision for the Election of Churchwardens, 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 of at least fourteen days including the two Sundays before 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.
Borough or District Electoral Registration Officers are not permitted to supply a Full [unedited] Register of Electors for the purposes of determining the eligibility of anyone to vote in the Election of Churchwardens. Parishes can purchase the Edited Register, but this is by definition not complete. 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 members of the electoral roll; 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.
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.
Electing the Parochial Church Council (PCC)
Some people are ex-officio members of the PCC:
- The parish priest, and any ordained minister or deaconess or layworker licensed to the parish;
- Any other licensed clergy 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.