The PCC consists of the clergy (the Vicar and the Curate in our case) and churchwardens of the parish, together with a number of representatives of the laity who are elected at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. The laity representatives volunteer for the role for one year and must have been listed on the parish roll for at least six months. Having volunteered they are then nominated and seconded at the annual Parochial Church Council meeting. The vicar is the chairman and a lay member is appointed vice chairman; the PCC must meet at least four times a year, although we tend to meet every other month.
The PCC is responsible for the financial affairs of the church and the care and maintenance of the church fabric and its contents. These responsibilities are actually executed by our churchwardens or other volunteers. The PCC also has a voice in the forms of service used by the church and may make representation to the bishop and deanery synod on matters affecting the welfare and pastoral care of the parish. Many of our parish post-holders are appointed by the PCC such as sidesperson, child protection representative, treasurer, chalice bearers and sacristan.
A PCC is always a charity and the members are trustees' they therefore have a legal responsibility to ensure the charity is run properly, within the law.
Now for a bit of history ..................... In England, until the 19th century, the PCC would have been called the Parish Vestry. As today with the PCC, 'Vestries' were responsible for the ecclesiastical affairs of the parish and maintenance of the church and its grounds etc, but in the mid 1800s they were responsible for a whole lot more besides ... to quote one source of reference: English Local Government from the Revolution to the Municipal Corporations, London; Longmans, Green & Co. (1906),
In 1835 more than 15,600 ecclesiastical parish vestries looked after their own:
churches and burial grounds, parish cottages and workhouses, their common lands and endowed charities, their market crosses, pumps, pounds, whipping posts, stocks, cages, watch houses, weights and scales, clocks and fire engines.
Or to put it another way:
the maintenance of the church and its services, the keeping of the peace, the repression of vagrancy, the relief of destitution, the mending of roads, the suppression of nuisances, the destruction of vermin, the furnishing of soldiers and sailors, even to some extent the enforcement of religious and moral discipline. These were among the multitudinous duties imposed on the parish and its officers, that is to say the vestry and its organisation, by the law of the land.
The vestries spent not far short of one-fifth of the budget of the national government itself.
So, don't be tempted to feel too sorry for members of our PCC as they leave a meeting looking worried about how we're going to raise funds to repair the guttering, 150 years ago they would have had much more to worry about!
For the legally or legislatively minded amongst you, PCCs were set up in 1921 by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921 Act as a successor to the Vestries or Vestry Meetings. Subsequent 1956 and 1969 Acts now govern the establishment and function of PCCs.
Our PCC members for 2018 are:
Chair Rev'd Jonathan Collis
Churchwardens Martin Everett
Members Rev'd Chris Giles
Colin Russell (Treasurer)
Joseph Fred Watson
Note that our Deanery Synod representatives are also members of the PCC. These are:
Margaret Ridley (secretary)
Please note that members of the PCC are re-elected annually at the Annual Parochial Church Council meeting. There are approximately 6 PCC meetings per year, each lasting approximately one hour. Please consider putting your name forward and volunteering to become a member of the PCC, we are always looking for new faces and fresh ideas. The only criteria is that you have been baptised, are on the church electoral roll and are aged 16 years or older.
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And hot off the press ..................... Most of the PCC members were recently tied to a chair and had their photo taken so that you can recognise them if you need to ask any of them a question about a leaky roof or some other aspect of life at St Augustine's.
We are located in the middle of Thorpe Bay, about two miles east of Southend on Sea and just a short walk from the sea front. We are easily accessible by train (Thorpe Bay station is on the main line from London Fenchurch Street) and bus (Nos 1, 7 and 9), and there is ample on-street parking around the church. The church itself is on an island site at the junction of Johnstone Road and St Augustine’s Avenue.
Our address is:
St Augustine’s Church,
St Augustine’s Avenue,
Thorpe Bay, Essex.
31st May 2020