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Issue 3 number 7 May 2017
Elections, elections . . . Alexandra Green
A The Editors
Andrew Colborne Alexandra Green Louise Heffernan Sheila Hills
Silvia Joinson David Pope
Copy for next issue to Parish Office or via email by 5th of
preceding month E-mail:
Parish Office: St Helen’s Court, Abingdon. OX14 5BS
Tel: 01235 520144
The Window is available to download from the
Churches’ websites on the back page
t the time of writing, local and national politicians are busily campaigning for what is likely to be a hotly-contested period of secular elections. At the same time the Church of England comes to the end of its annual and triennial election cycle. An-
nual, because by 30 April each year, every ecclesiastical parish will have held its Annual Meeting of Parishioners and Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM). At the Annual Meeting of Parishioners the election of churchwardens takes place, a meeting also known as the ‘Easter Vestry’ because it used to meet in the vestry of a church building. In the parish of Abingdon-on-Thames, the Annual Meeting of Parishioners voted Norman Gee and Linda Hobbs for St Helen’s, Peter Squire for St Michael’s, and Paul Rast-Lindsell and Andrew Coker, to the ancient and responsible position of churchwardens. The office of churchwar- den dates from pre-Victorian times; they are answerable to the bishop and until 1921 (of which more later) they were the sole official representatives of the laity in each parish.
At the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, representatives of the laity (PCC members) are elected to conduct the day-to-day affairs of the parish. They have a fiduciary duty to make sure that the financial affairs of the parish are properly administered. PCCs were first estab- lished in 1921, and so in Church of England terms are a relatively modern invention! The members of the PCC who were elected are displayed on noticeboards in each church and serve for a three-year term.
The PCC (for the parish) and DCC (for each of our three churches) are familiar organisa- tions. Perhaps less familiar are the next three levels of what is known as Synodical Govern- ment: deanery synods, diocesan synods, and General Synod. In Abingdon, the parish is a member of the Abingdon Deanery, and probably the most directly relevant day-to-day re- sponsibility of that body is to establish a budget and determine the parish share or quota (the contribution from each church for central ministry and other costs) payable from year to year. For the next three years to 2020, Abingdon-on-Thames has up to seven representatives elected by the APCM on Deanery Synod.
Diocesan synod members are directly elected ‘from the pews’. They formulate diocesan strategy and policy including the determination of the diocesan budget, which in turn feeds into the deanery and parish budgets.
Members of deanery synods also have a very responsible and privileged role, in that they vote (every five years) for members of the General Synod, the ultimate governing body of the Church of England. General Synod determines many matters that affect our everyday life in the Church of England – the ordination of women as bishops, priests and deacons, the order and forms of worship to be used Sunday by Sunday and day by day, the marriage of same sex couples in church - a few examples. So please pray for your deanery synod repre- sentatives in their deliberations and decision-making and lobby them as they prepare to vote in General Synod elections in 2020.
Alexandra Green is a member of the editorial group of The Window and a deanery synod representative for the parish of Abingdon-on-Thames
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