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St. John's Pevensey Road

The PCC, and the role of the PCC Secretary

What’s it like being a PCC Secretary?

A bit of background:

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is the committee that co-ordinates the affairs of our church. There are about 20 members and the chair is the Rector (Fr David Hill).

The PCC generally meets 8 times each year, from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm on a Monday in the All Saints Room, downstairs from the Church. There is a service of Evensong in St Peter’s Chapel for 15 minutes beforehand, for those who wish to come.

Although PCCs are particularly responsible for finance and the upkeep of the Church building (and the Church Hall), we also discuss many aspects of church life and everybody’s contribution is welcome.

The PCC communicates mostly by email. The agenda and papers for meetings are sent out in this way and members mostly print their own copies or view papers on their technology at the meeting.

We do not have refreshments, so this means that the secretary doesn’t have to do coffee-making.

There is a standard agenda to which items are added as required: this is done at a meeting of the Standing Committee (see below) which generally meets two weeks before each PCC Meeting.

Very occasionally there are extra-ordinary PCC meetings. These are called if matters (often financial) have to be decided more urgently than the next PCC meeting. These meetings are very short and take place maybe once per year often after the main Sunday Mass.

 

The Standing Committee (SC) is generally made up of the Rector, the two Churchwardens, the Treasurer and the Secretary. There is a simple agenda comprising matters of finance, fabric (buildings & grounds) and anything else that needs to go on the PCC agenda.

The SC meets seven times a year, on Mondays from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm in the All Saints Room.

All other committees & groups are responsible for their own minutes or notes: for example, the Church Hall Committee, the Worship Committee, the Sunday School Leaders’ Meeting.

 

The Annual Meetings. The Annual Parish Meeting (APM) and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) held together in March or April each year, after the main Sunday Mass.

 

Administration. We have a paid administrator who works 15 hours per week. Her role includes things that in other parishes might be done by the PCC Secretary or by another volunteer, such as dealing with bookings for the Church and the Church Hall, maintaining the diary.

The Administrator can often assist the Secretary and vice versa. The PCC Secretary has a dedicated “Secretary at St John’s” email address.

We have expert volunteers who deal with

  • the Church Website and the weekly ‘Pews News’
  • the Electoral Roll (official name for the list of church members) and church attendance statistics 

 

Support for the PCC Secretary. We will ensure that there is a good handover providing detailed information about the tasks listed below. The Rector, other Officers, PCC Members and people in the congregation are also sources of help & advice. There is useful information on various websites.

What the PCC Secretary does

  • Attends Standing Committee meetings (7 times per year), makes notes and circulates them by email to the SC members and prepares the agenda for PCC meeting as agreed
  • Circulates the agenda for PCC meetings by email with associated papers.
  • Receives apologies for absence and notes these
  • Attends the PCC meetings (8 times per year), contributes as required, takes notes, prepares minutes and distributes by email
  • If requested, organises, attends and takes minutes of any extra-ordinary PCC meetings
  • Ensures that the PCC fixes the dates of future meetings, including the Annual Meetings.
  • Organises the Annual Meetings – APM & APCM. This includes posting the appropriate notices, collating the annual report of the parish and organising nomination forms for new PCC members
  • Attends the annual meetings, takes notes and prepares the minutes
  • Keeps records of PCC membership up to date, including dates of election/standing down
  • Organises for annual returns to be completed by the due dates, for example the Diocesan Return and the Charity Commission Return
  • Ensures that certain annual requirements are carried out, e.g. that the PCC Safeguarding Policy is formally adopted each year and that a Safeguarding Notice is posted as required by the Diocese
  • Becomes familiar with the rules governing the running of PCCs
  • Takes on other tasks (such as sub-committee membership, helping to organise events) only if the role-holder wishes to do so

 

In summary

The PCC Secretary needs, if at all possible, to attend 15 meetings per year on Monday evenings and one on a Sunday at 12 noon. Before and after these meetings there are tasks to complete. Other aspects of the role are to do with reminding, enabling and organising – not always actual doing.

Note that a Secretary does not have to be voting member of the PCC.

 

Skills and attributes needed

All PCC Secretaries do the job in their own way! However, it will be obvious from the above that a PCC Secretary should be competent in computer-based tasks and have access to appropriate technology. People who like being well-organised and methodical would be suited to the role. Writing minutes is a skill – but this can be learnt.

In our Diocese (Chichester) all PCC members are asked to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This is simple to organize via our Safeguarding Officer and/or our Administrator.