Prior to 1919 the administration and finances of a parish were, in law, almost exclusively the prerogative of the incumbent and churchwardens. Parochial Church Councils were given legal status by the act of 1919,since then a number of Acts have defined and refined the composition, functions and rights and responsibilities of the Parochial Church Council.
The Parochial Church Council, or PCC, is an executive committee of the parish one of its most important functions is co-operation with the incumbent in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical.
Formally, the PCC is responsible for the financial affairs of the church and the care and maintenance of the church fabric and its contents. It also has a voice in the forms of Service used by the church and may make representations to the bishop on matters affecting the welfare of the parish. The PCC has the right to be consulted about major changes to the forms of worship used in the parish and about the appointment of a new incumbent.
Although the PCC has ultimate responsibility, it delegates some of its work
It therefore has a number of committees, each dealing with a particular aspect of parish life. Each committee has at least one PCC member on it. These committees are formally responsible to the PCC, reporting back to it regularly and seeking its approval before making major changes or incurring significant costs. The PCC also provides strategic direction to the committees
The PCC will have on it one or more members of the deanery synod, who have an important role in linking the parish into the wider structures of the church.
There is one other committee, which is rather different in nature. The Standing Committee is a subset of the PCC. Its job is to carry out the work of the full PCC between PCC meetings, for example if something urgent comes up which does not justify calling an extraordinary meeting of the whole PCC.
In addition to their formal duties, PCC members act as representatives for all parishioners in the affairs of the church. Apart from the vicar, who is ex-officio chairman, the parishioners elect all PCC members directly or indirectly. To this end An Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) must take place not later than the 30th April in each year and elects lay members who must be on the electoral roll, be actual communicants and at least 17 years of age.
All who are on the church’s Electoral Roll can attend The APCM and may vote for members of the PCC.
The Parochial church council is a body corporate with perpetual succession it therefore has legal existence apart from the members who compose it.