Church Wardens

Definition

A Churchwarden is an elected lay official in a parish church of the Anglican communion; they are leading members of the congregation and the Parochial Church Council (PCC), they are the Bishops representative in the parish and serve for up to 6 years. The responsibilities of Churchwardens are laid down in Church Law (church warden’s measure 2001). This is a voluntary (unpaid) position.

The role is that of an overseer, and has three chief components, oversight of the spiritual and pastoral life of the church, oversight of legal financial and practical aspects of church life and the care of the Vicar and his family.

Main responsibilities:

Oversight of Spiritual and pastoral life of the church:

  • To give spiritual leadership and ensure pastoral care for the church.
  • To be on call in the event of pastoral or other emergencies.

The Wardens together and with the Vicar and PCC ensure that:

  • Sunday services run smoothly in an appropriate and ordered way.
  • Church Leadership is shared by the clergy and lay staff, volunteer ministry leaders and the adminstration leadership team.
  • That lay church members are enabled and supported to serve the church.

Oversight of legal financial and practical aspects of church life including:

  • Encouragement and empowerment of PCC members to fulfil their roles.
  • Empowerment of staff to do their jobs while ensuring proper oversight & support are in place.
  • Oversight of the production of the annual report, and submission of the parish returns to the diocese/charity commission.  Ensure that the Annual Parochial Church Meeting duly takes place as required in church law.
  • To oversee systems that ensure church premises are safe, secure and maintained.
  • Oversee applications for physical alterations to the church building (faculties) and ensure any conditions imposed by the legal permission process are met.

Care of the Vicar in conjuction with the Bishop and congregation:

  • To lead in the pastoral care of the Vicar and his family.
  • To pray with the Vicar and meet regularly with him.
  • To be part of the Vicars annual review process, encouraging and supporting his development so that he/she can devote their energies to leading the church to fulfil its vision.

General tasks:

  • Sunday duties –share in Sunday oversight duties and lead a team of deputy wardens.
  • Meetings – attend PCC, Exec (standing committee) and with the vicar as needed.
  • Attend the annual archdeacons visitation.
  • To act on behalf of the vicar during a vacancy when wardens will be involved significantly in the process of appointing a new vicar.

Person Specification

  • Present, available & reliable - 1 Timothy 3 is well worth reading!
  • Godly, courageous and servant hearted and prepared to get ‘stuck in’.
  • A faithful member of the church who is a proven leader and a good example.
  • Flexible with a sense of humour
  • In full agreement with the vision and values of the church.

Legal requirements

Over 21 and on the electoral roll, a confirmed and communicant member of the Church of England.

A person is excluded from holding the position under some circumstances. These are outlined in the church representation rules but broadly speaking include any convictions that would preclude CRB extended records certification or disqualify an individual from appointment as a charity trustee.

Helpful reference books

Practical Church Management J Behrens (1998)

A Handbook for Church wardens and the PCC K M Macmorran & T Briden (2006 revision)