Churchwardens play a vital part in parish life, caring not just for the church building and the churchyard, but also for the well-being of the church's ministers and members and for the wider community.
If you wish to be a churchwarden you will fully immersed in the life of your parish church. This is a hugely rewarding role as you have specific areas of responsibility enabling you to act as guardian of the parish church and its services all in co-operation with the parish Priest.
The role offers great variety emcompassing everything from administration to pastoral care of your PCC team, from dealing with problems to welcoming someone new into your parish. The role can be hughly influencial to the type of church you are part of and although the role can be time demanding it is also extremely rewarding.
What does a Churchwardens do?
- First and foremost they are officers of the Bishop. In that capacity, each year, they present answers to such questions as have been put to them in the Archdeacon’s Articles of Enquiry. They may include in their response any further matters affecting the parish which may be relevant, always remembering that the aim is to inform the Archdeacon and the Bishop whether all is well with the parish or, if not, what is wrong. The formal occasion of the annual visitation and completion of the Articles of Enquiry do not mark the limit of the churchwarden’s responsibilities in this respect. At any time the Bishop or Archdeacon may make enquiry of them as to parochial matters, and at any time they can inform the Bishop or Archdeacon of any concerns or irregularities in the life of the parish…. …..they are also only too glad to hear good news!
- Legally responsible for the plate, ornaments and other movable goods of the church.
- Compile and maintain an inventory of church goods and a terrier of church lands, and to make an annual fabric report to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.
- Keep a logbook of all work done to the church.
- Maintenance of order and decency in the church and churchyard, especially during the time of divine service.
- Legal responsibility for allocation of seats to the congregation and the collection of alms, although in practice they will be assisted by others in these tasks.
- During a vacancy in the benefice the churchwardens, together with the Rural Dean, will automatically become sequestrators and as such have responsibility for provision of services and care of the parsonage house, although much of this will be undertaken by the Diocesan Office staff.
- They know where to go for help (often the Archdeacon is the first port of call), and have faith that can move mountains - although building church extensions can seem more of a challenge!
Who can be a Churchwarden?
- To be eligible for election, a person must be baptised, aged 21 or over, on the church electoral roll, and a regular communicant. These conditions apply unless the Bishop directs otherwise.
- Good Churchwardens also have tact, discretion, a sense of humour, readiness to take the lead on occasion and commitment to the local church and community.
Churchwardens' training 2022
Wednesday 27 July 2022 | 7.00pm | All Saints Church Hall, Park Road, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3QW
Wednesday 13 July 2022 | 7.00pm | St Luke’s Church, 61 Rigbourne Hill, Beccles NR34 9JQ
Tuesday 5 July 2022 | 7.00pm | River Church, St Mary at the Quay, Foundation Street, Ipswich IP4 1BZ
This event has been enormously successful in the past. The training session is aimed primarily at new or nearly new churchwardens, but experienced ones invariably find that there is always something new to learn. The sessions are also open to anyone who might have reason to think that he or she could be a churchwarden before long! The session covers Churchwardens’ tasks and legal responsibilities, issues about building maintenance and faculties and many other related issues. There is always an opportunity for Question and Answer sessions.
Events will be led by the Archdeacon with contributions from the Diocesan Registrar.
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