Churchwardens

 

The current law relating to Churchwardens is contained in th Churchwardens Measure 2001.

The duties and responsibilities of Churchwardens are described 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the qualifications for being a Churchwarden?

To be eligible for election as a Churchwarden, you must:
(a) be baptised
(b) be on the church electoral roll (you do not need to be resident in the parish, and in fact someone who is resident in the parish but not on the church electoral roll cannot be a Churchwarden)
(c) be an actual communicant
(d) be least 21 years of age
(e) not be disqualified under the Churchwardens Measure 2001
(f) give your written consent to stand for election.

Q2: How Many churchwardens can a church have?

(a)  Every parish can have two churchwardens.
(b)  Where  by  custom  there  are  more  than  two  churchwardens,  the  custom  can  continue,  but  a  meeting  of parishioners can resolve to abandon the custom. Once  the custom is abandoned, it cannot be revived.
(c)  Where there are two parish churches in a parish, each will have two churchwardens. All the churchwardens will  be  churchwardens  of  the  whole  parish,  except that  they  may  arrange  to  perform  separate  duties  in relation to each church.
(d)  A person can only be churchwarden of more than one parish in the case of related parishes, e.g., two parishes in the same benefice, or in the same group, or which are
held in plurality, or which have the same minister. 

Q3: Are there any legal restrictions on being a churchwarden?

A person cannot be a churchwarden if such person:
(a)  has been disqualified by the Bishop under the Incumbents (Vacation of Benefices) Measure 1977; OR  
(b)  has been disqualified from being a charity trustee under the Charities Act 1993 (e.g. convicted of a criminal offence involving dishonesty, or an undischarged bankrupt); OR
(c)  has been convicted under the Children and Young Persons Act 1963; OR
(d)  has held office as churchwarden for six consecutive periods; however,  a  meeting  of  parishioners  may  resolve  that  the  six-year  rule  will  not  apply, and such resolution may be revoked at a later date.

Q4: When and how are churchwardens elected?

(a)  The election of churchwardens is by an annual meeting of the parishioners, which must take placeo take place by 30th  April.
(b)  The election by joint consent of meeting  OR the Incumbent chooses one churchwarden and the meeting  chooses the other.
(c)  The persons entitled to attend and vote are (i) persons on the church electoral roll
and (ii) persons resident in the parish and on the local government register as residents.
(d)  Candidates must be nominated and seconded in writing by persons entitled to attend the meeting, and the nomination form must be signed by the person nominated to the effect that he or she is willing to serve and is not disqualified from serving. A nomination is not valid unless received by the minister before the meeting  and, where the Bishop has been asked to waive one of the qualifications for election, the Bishop’s waiver has been given before the nomination paper is received by the minister.