Each Parish Church has (normally) two Churchwardens, who are elected annually by a parish meeting held not later than 30 April. The duties and responsibilities of Churchwardens are set out in Canon E1 of the Canons of the Church of England.
Section 4 of the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991 sets out the duties of Churchwardens as to the recording of information about churches. Section 5 sets out the duties of Churchwardens as to the church fabric and articles belonging to the church.
Appointment and Resignation
The Registrar receives a number of enquiries each year regarding the appointment and resignation of Churchwardens. The current law relating to Churchwardens is contained in the Churchwardens Measure 2001, which replaces the Churchwardens (Appointment and Resignation) Measure 1964. The attached Notes, which compare the old law and the new, will hopefully answer most of the questions which usually arise. The Legal Office of the National Institutions of the Church of England has also produced a useful Guide to the Measure.
Duties during an Interregnum
During an interregnum, Churchwardens may find the following helpful:
- SO THE VICAR'S LEAVING - The Good Interregnum Guide
- By Mike Alexander and Jeremy Martineau. Published by Canterbury Press. Priced £5.95. ISBN 1-85311-505-3.
- RESPONSIBILITIES DURING A VACANCY
- Instructions from the Bishop of Peterborough and the Bishop of Brixworth to Rural Deans and Churchwardens.
Some useful publications
The following books will also be of interest to Churchwardens and PCCs.
- CHURCHWARDENS : A Survival Guide
- By Martin Dudley and Virginia Rounding. Published by SPCK. Price £10.99. ISBN 0-281-05073-2.
- THE CHURCHYARDS HANDBOOK (4th Ed.)
- Edited by Thomas Cocke. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £10.95. ISBN 0715175831. Practical advice on all aspects of churchyard management. Includes advice on memorial design and areas for cremated remains.
- WIDENING THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE
- By John Penton. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £10.95. ISBN 0715175890. A guide to meeting the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, providing detailed information and design guidance to help meet the accessibility needs of people with disabilities.
- GUIDE TO FUNERALS AND BEREAVEMENT
- By Sam Weller. Published by Kogan Page. ISBN 07494305773. Available from the Association of Burial Authorities, 155 Upper Street, London N1 1RA, price £5.00 + £1.50 postage. As well as covering all practical aspects of funerals, this very useful guide also contains information about churchyard memorials (though this should always be read in conjunction with local Diocesan Churchyards Regulations).
- STONEWORK - MAINTENANCE AND SURFACE REPAIR
- By A.D.R. Caroe and M.B. Caroe. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £9.95. ISBN 0715175823. This book, first published in 1984, contains the accumulated wisdom of the Caroe firm from a century’s experience of involvement with the great buildings of the land, especially churches.
- CONSERVATION AND REPAIR OF BELLS
- By The Council for the Care of Churches. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £6.95. ISBN 0715175998. This book provides advice on the conservation of historic bells, bellframes and fittings. It provides workable guidelines that balance the needs of conservation and bellringing practice.
- CHURCH LIGHTING
- By Peter Jay and Bill Crawforth. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £12.95. ISBN 071517584X. The aim of this book is to assist parishes in deciding whether the lighting in their church is capable of improvement and, if so, in what way. It deals with lighting design, lighting schemes, different types of light source, controls and maintenance.
- SOUNDS GOOD
- By John Norman and Jim Berrow. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £6.95. ISBN 0715175947. Advice on the care and repair of older organs, as well as recommendations on the use of new and second-hand organs. There are helpful sections on dealing with organ builders, finance and contracts.
- HISTORIC ORGAN CONSERVATION - A Practical Introduction to Processes and Planning
- By Dominic Gwynn. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £9.95. ISBN 0715175920. A concise and practical guide to organ conservation issues, including the principles of good restoration practice, the rewards of care and good housekeeping, the results of neglect and bad practice, and the availability of grants.
- CHURCH EXTENSIONS AND ADAPTATIONS (2nd Ed.)
- By The Council for the Care of Churches . Published by Church House Publishing. Price £9.95. ISBN 0715175971. Shows how church buildings can be adapted or extended in creative and responsible ways to allow their facilities to be more widely used and more effective in mission.
- FRAGILE INHERITANCE - The Care of Stained Glass and Historic Glazing: A Handbook for Custodians
- By Sebastian Strobl and Sarah Brown. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £9.95. ISBN 0715176005. Guidance on the causes of deterioration of stained glass, as well as advice on managing the conservation and future care of windows.
- WILDLIFE IN CHURCH AND CHURCHYARD - Plants, Animals and their Management (2nd Ed.)
- By The Council for the Care of Churches. Published by Church House Publishing. Price £9.95. ISBN 0715175874. Covering such areas as tree-planting, grassland and landscape design, this book gives practical advice on the best ways to manage a churchyard for nature conservation.
- A STITCH IN TIME - Guidelines for the Care of Textiles
- Published by Church House Publishing. Price £2.50. ISBN 0715175955. Another publication from The Council for the Care of Churches, this book aims to provide guidelines and encourage good practice in dealing with the upkeep and preservation of church furnishings, textiles and vestments.
- FLAGS FOR CHURCHES : Guidance issued by the Flag Institute for the Church of England
- To obtain a copy of this booklet, telephone 01730-264735 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. See also
www.flaginstitute.org. We have our own
flag expert in the diocese, the Rev. John Hall, Rector of Great Addington,
Little Addington, Woodford and Irthlingborough, who will be pleased to answer
questions regarding the use of flags at churches. Tel: 01933 650278. Email:
For a supplier of flags, see Flying Colours Flagmakers.