Every year, within the 42 dioceses of the Church of England, the archdeacons 'visitations' take place. In the Diocese of Lichfield these are held in deanery groupings within each of the four archdeaconries - Lichfield, Salop, Stoke-upon-Trent and Walsall - following the annual election of churchwardens by the end of May.
Formally, the visitations were a court where all clergy and churchwardens were cited to attend. More recently the format has changed so they take the form of a service, the key part of which is the official admittance of churchwardens as office holders of the diocesan bishop. During the service, the archdeacon also delivers a sermon called the 'archdeacons charge', the aim of which is to offer advice, encouragement and support to parishes in general and churchwardens in particular.
It is expected that those standing for election or re-election as Wardens undertake an enhanced DBS check to work with adults and children. This is because the role of Church warden is considered to contain leadership and management duties that will likely bring them into contact with children and vulnerable adults. Therefore all churchwardens must confirm that they have a valid DBS certificate to be admitted to their post, by including the number of the certificate on the churchwardens declaration form. Please note that if you are not able to provide the DBS certificate number at the Visitation you will not be admitted to office.