Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The roles of Churchwardens and Deputy Churchwardens

From the flyer accompanying the nomination forms for this year's elections:

The role of a churchwarden is extremely varied and demanding, both in terms of time and responsibility. In the Parish of Oadby, we have two churchwardens, elected from the membership of St Paul’s and St Peter’s Churches. The Churchwardens share their responsibilities with deputies. They play a key role in the leadership of the parish, as well as in the church in which they belong.

The churchwarden should be someone who the congregation respects as a leader and who can take charge when needed. A churchwarden may have to take a service at ten minutes notice, or deal with the press when some major issue occurs. He or she needs to help the PCC to make the right decisions. Above all, Churchwardens should be prayerful, wise, and if needed, firm. They should not be nervous of dealing with senior clergy.

While a vicar is in post, many of the churchwarden's responsibilities are connected with maintenance. With a light touch, they are responsible for a necessary order in worship and for collecting the church offerings. The Churchwarden leads the team of Sidespeople and Welcomers, whose contribution to a friendly and worshipful atmosphere in church is vital. Churchwardens have to make reports each year to the annual parochial meeting and to the archdeacon. They have to go to all the meetings of the PCC, DCC and the standing committee, and should meet and pray regularly with the clergy. Their work is not just the maintenance of the church building, but helping the smooth running of the church.

Churchwardens also exercise an important pastoral responsibility in caring for the parish clergy and in encouraging church members in their Christian faith, and to help heal any quarrels or disagreements that arise.

Churchwardens are elected annually by a meeting of Parishioners and may serve for a maximum of six consecutive terms. Deputy Churchwardens are also elected annually.