Proposals For Parish Governance
The PCC has conducted a review of governance across the parish. This concerns how and where we make decisions across our three churches in a way that supports our mission and ministry effectively. The PCC has voted in favour of the proposals, but a formal vote needs to be held at the APCM on Sunday 21st May. If you have any questions or comments, these should be addressed to Nick, our Rector, in advance of the APCM (email@example.com).
Background and Summary
In November 2021, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) tasked the clergy and wardens with reviewing the parish’s councils, committees, and groups. The purpose of the review was to find out how decisions might be made more effectively across our three churches to support our mission and ministry. The clergy and wardens met four times and developed an initial proposal for the future of governance in the parish.
In summary, the main changes in the proposal are to:
Establish a PCC committee to oversee finance, building, and administration across the parish;
Establish a PCC committee to oversee mission, worship, and spirituality across the parish;
Change the District Church Councils (DCCs) to Local Church Groups (LCGs). LCGs would be responsible for management and implementation at each church.
The proposal was initially presented to the PCC in June 2022. This was discussed further at meetings in September and November. At the meeting on 29th November, the PCC voted to recommend the proposal and bring it to a parish vote at the APCM in 2023. The motion passed with 11 in favour, 0 against, and 1 abstention.
Present Governance Structure
The present governance structure was implemented when the Cheam Team Ministry was established in 2006, following the rules set out in Section M35 of the Church Representation Rules.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is the parish’s statutory body which has overall legal responsibility for ensuring that it fulfils its duties. This includes all parish worship and activities, buildings, financial management, and safeguarding. Its members are either ex-officio (licensed clergy, lay ministers and churchwardens) or elected. Elected members are elected for a term of three years.
Each church in the team has a District Church Council (DCC). When the Team was created, the PCC decided to delegate some of its duties to the DCCs, although by law the PCC remains the responsible body and has the right to exercise a function delegated to the DCCs at any time. No documents have been found that provide details about this scheme or any subsequent delegation from the PCC to the DCCs. At present, the DCCs act as if they have been delegated responsibility for:
Local worship and activities in collaboration with their incumbent (Rector or Team Vicar);
Mission and outreach (which has been overseen predominantly at a local church level);
The day-to-day management of local church finances, which are reported to the PCC. The parish’s formal accounts, however, must be presented as combined and the parish holds one registration with the Charities Commission;
Repairs and general maintenance of their church building. Significant repairs and work requiring a faculty must be brought to the PCC for discussion and approval;
The local implementation of Church of England safeguarding guidelines in co-operation with the Parish Safeguarding Adviser.
Conclusions Of The Governance Review
The incumbents and churchwardens reached the following conclusions:
There is a significant lack of clarity about how decisions should be made and the different roles and responsibilities of the PCC and DCCs. The absence of any terms of reference only adds to this lack of clarity. This has caused the current structure to be ineffective.
Local church representation should always be important. Some of our DCCs, however, find that there is much duplication with the business of the PCC. Other DCCs believe that the purpose of the PCC is to ‘rubber stamp’ decisions made by DCCs.
As we move towards increased collaboration across our churches, we would benefit from a coordinated approach to our primary task of mission and ministry. The current governance does not provide a suitable forum in which this can take place.
Many other areas of our other parish business would benefit from working much closer together as a team. Examples include building maintenance and development, finances, safeguarding, administration, hall hire and lettings. Again, the current governance structure does not provide a suitable forum in which this can take place.
Overall, as a team ministry, we need to improve how our churches support each other better as we seek to develop our parish. Part of this is to establish a clearly-defined governance structure which encourages greater partnership between our churches.
Legal Requirements For Parish Governance
We are required to follow the Church Representation Rules. Sections M34 and M35 relate to parishes of more than one place of worship. As one parish with three centres of worship, the Cheam Team Ministry is required to have a joint PCC. It is the choice of the parish to have DCCs and any delegation is the decision of the PCC.
Any proposal must be voted on at a Parish Meeting and subsequently lodged with the diocesan registry, and sent to the secretary of the bishop’s council and standing committee.
Proposal For Future Governance
The proposed governance structure would provide a platform that will enable the Cheam Team Ministry to work more as a team rather than three individual churches. It would facilitate collaboration and mutual support not only on mission, ministry, and pioneering, but also on the practical aspects of parish life. It would also allow individual churches to continue to manage many matters locally. The proposed structure is as follows:
The Parochial Church Council (PCC)
The PCC must always be the statutory body of any parish where all key decisions are made or consented to. Working with the incumbents and churchwardens, the PCC is responsible for the good management of our churches and the fulfilment of our duties to provide worship and proclaim the Good News of Jesus within the parish.
There is no proposal to change the current structure of membership of the PCC which consists of:
Incumbents and all licensed ordained and lay ministers;
The churchwardens of each church;
Elected members of each church (4 from St Dunstan’s, 2 from St Alban’s, 2 from St Oswald’s);
Elected members of Deanery Synod as defined by the size of the electoral roll of each church (3 from St Dunstan’s, 2 from St Alban’s, 2 from St Oswald’s).
Local Church Groups (LCGs)
Local Church Groups would replace the current DCCs. The LCGs would be sub-committees of the PCC. Their membership would be made up of each church’s PCC members plus co-opted members.
The roles of the LCGs would be focused on local management and implementation. Their responsibilities would be: the delivery of worship; social events; fundraising for church and charity; pastoral care; and minor repairs and maintenance. They will also be able to make financial decisions up to an amount defined by the PCC.
Mission, Worship, and Spirituality Committee (MWS)
The MWS would be a sub-committee of the PCC with its members from the PCC.
The MWS would oversee matters of mission, worship, and spirituality across the parish. Its particular responsibilities would be: worship; pioneering; outreach and engagement; children, young people, and families; discipleship and learning; vocation; training and supervision; social and climate justice.
Finance, Administration, and Buildings Committee (FAB)
The FAB would be a sub-committee of the PCC with its members from the PCC.
The FAB would oversee matters of finance, administration, and buildings management across the parish. Its particular responsibilities would be: financial management and reporting; stewardship; buildings maintenance and repair; faculties and other permissions; halls administration; health and safety.
Further PCC Groups and Committees
The PCC has already formed a Parish Safeguarding Committee which is responsible for safeguarding and safer recruitment across the parish. The PCC may also decide to establish other committees or groups to oversee specific matters relating to our parish.
The PCC recommends these proposals to members of the parish and has requested a vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Sunday 21st May 2023.