Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What is the PCC for?

The Church of England is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. It is episcopally led and synodically governed and if you think that sounds like a dodgy compromise find someone else to take it up with. I may make fun of the rules but I don't make them up.

The Synodical Government Measure of 1969 (sometimes I amaze myself at how much useless stuff I actually know) was designed to give the laity (non-clergy) more say in the running of the church. Good show, say I.

So Bishops are in charge but often complain about their relative powerlessness to do anything. Except Sentamu, who totally gets it. And hierarchical synods sort out the nitty gritty of policy so we have General Synod (which has recently been meeting), Diocesan Synods, Deanery Synods and then the Parochial Church Councils. Which often moan about their relative powerlessness to get things done.

Hypothetically a PCC could pass a motion that the Deanery Synod reps could get put on their synod agenda and discuss, vote on and pass on up the line. So the ordinary person in the pew has access to the power structure to get things done, subject to lots of democratic checks and balances. It works but it is painstaking. That self-same ordinary person can also stand for election to the higher synods.


Cosmo said...

Thanks for the concise explaination!

So, have PCC only been in existence since 1969? I had assumed they were far more ancient.

Mr Gnome said...


So clear.

Now, if you can perform the same miracle re the byzantine complexities of the C of E's patronage system, I'll nominate you for the Nobel prize for explanation!

St said...

Cosmo, PCCs have been in place for longer but only since 1969 have they had a set place in the hierarchical structure.

Rob N said...

St is quite right about PCCs; historically Parochial Church Councils did not exist. They were introduced by the Parochial Church Councils Measure 1921 as a body at parish level which would better enable the lay members of the congregation to be represented. Their current powers come from the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956.

Dave Neal said...

In terms of change, I'm up for Eddie Izzard's take on Liberal Anarchy - where we kick the doors of Lambeth Palace down and then offer to pay for any damage.