The position of Churchwarden will shortly become vacant. Next month I will outline some of the duties of Churchwarden so that perhaps you can think about standing, but this month I thought I might just outline some of our rules for election of officers.
Strictly speaking the position of Churchwarden is up for re-election each year at the ACM. If anyone desperately wanted to become Churchwarden they could put their name forward any year and force an election with the current wardens. In practice, of course, this does not happen... It is hard to find anyone to fill the role even when we have election every two years never mind every year, and in 1986 our PCC passed a measure that prohibited Churchwardens remaining in office for longer than 4 years at a time. This measure was further ratified by the ACM later that year. The idea was to try to force new blood to the surface to promote new and forward thinking ideas. In the (good) old days churchwardens used to remain in office for many years on end. One Churchwarden proudly announced to his Bishop that he had been in office for 35 years. "You should be ashamed of yourself" was the Bishop's response!!
However there are downsides to our truncated appointment system. Rarely do things happen in the church within 4 years and often Churchwardens cannot see the fruition of any plans before they are out of office again. The consequence is that they tend not to start any projects or look to any major repairs preferring to pass it on to their successor, who similarly considers the matter too long term for his limited span of office. I believe this to be the case with our church hall over a period of many years. Also of course if you do happen to get a good motivating and active Churchwarden you lose him/her when he probably has several willing years to go.
It has been suggested that Churchwardens, once having completed their 4 years, are unable to ever stand again. This is not so. The ruling of the PCC was that Churchwardens must stand down for a period of one year before standing for any office, Churchwarden, PCC or Deanery representative. Thus Churchwardens may stand again for the position after one (or in our case 2) years.
Members of the PCC stand for election and are elected for a period of three years. Should any elected member retire/resign during their period on the PCC, the PCC has the option to co-opt a replacement to serve the balance of the three years. Should a co-opted member have less than one year to serve, they may immediately stand for election at the ACM. In any event the ACM should be used to bring the strength of the PCC up to 9, maintaining the correct balance of the changeover system. There are nine elected members of the PCC and they rotate with three being elected every three years.
St George's may send two members to the Deanery Synod and it is arguably these two who are the most important members of our elected team. They carry our thoughts and messages to Deanery and hence to the Diocese. Consequently they have full voting rights within the PCC. These positions run to the Deanery calendar and are elected every three years.
Overall it is really important that, if you put your name down to serve, you are willing to do so wholeheartedly. Please find out just what is involved in the position by asking a current member, and be prepared to work at it. Too many PCC members (not just of this Church) are elected but then rarely turn up to meetings and do not take any active part in what goes on. This leaves the few to do the donkey work.
In the next few years St George's is going to need a strong team to handle a variety of ever increasing problems - cash is the first one, a probable interregnum, increasing dilapidation of our church building and grounds, the future of our hall, cautious and clever management of our finances, good contact with the Deanery etc. It needs good, firm, competent and capable people to fill these coming vacancies. Do you think you might be one of those?
page last updated 31 JANUARY 2002