The Annual Parochial Church Meeting is a significant event in the parochial year during which the Churchwardens are elected.
In the light of the restrictions placed upon parishes by the current COVID-19 epidemic, the Bishop of Lichfield has signed an instrument to allow annual meetings, which must be held by 31st May 2021, if necessary, to include online provision.
All those currently in these posts will continue until then.
The Church of England has posted the following response to the question Is There Any Guidance Concerning Our APCM Meeting? on its website:
The legislation for Step 1 of coming out of lockdown does not permit physical meeting in churches or other buildings other than for communal worship or the provision of essential voluntary and public services. These restrictions mean currently if you can, you should hold PCC or APCM meetings online or by telephone. However, if you cannot do this, you can hold these meetings in person only if this is necessary to provide voluntary or charitable services.
The 4 Step plan from the Government indicates that physical meetings can go ahead from Step 3. The earliest date for Step 3 to come into effect is the 17th May, but this could be later depending on the situation at the time.
The Church Representation Rules allow for APCM meetings to take place up to 31st May and individual dioceses may choose to extend that deadline. If a parish holds a meeting before Step 3 is reached it should do so remotely - in the case of an annual meeting that requires special provision to be made by the Bishop. Some Bishops may give a general permission for APCMs including meetings of parishioners to take place online. If you are unsure about the deadline for holding your APCM or what special provision to meet remotely has been made in your diocese then please consult with your Archdeacon.
For a physical meeting, as for a hybrid or online meeting, Sections M5-M7 of the Church Representation Rules must be covered but trying to reduce the length of the meeting is advised. Widely sharing papers in advance of meetings will enable the time spent to be kept as short as is needed, rather than reading papers out at the meeting, and submitting questions in advance may also help reduce the meeting time.
APCM Resources and guides
- Go to Parish Resources/APCM to download all APCM forms and notices.
- Lichfield Registry have written a document giving clear advice for the APCM.
- The new Church Representation Rules 2020 can be accessed via the Parish Resources website.
The new Church Representation Rules are laid out in a simpler format which is easier to follow and includes useful information previously held in separate documents. Please do have a read!
Hard copies of the latest Church Representation rules (2022) can be purchased from Church House Publishing
If you have any further questions please liaise with one of our Archdeacons in the first instance.