Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Killing the Old PCC

Kum Ba Ya, M'lud
Fret not, I am not about to emerge as the next headline after One Direction have moved aside. I have not strolled into church with my Ouzi Nine Millimeetah and popped caps into asses. No, none of that.

But ... the Old Order is no more. A new dawn breaks over Whitton.

Those of you familiar with the Parochial Church Council as an entity will know that it is a gathering of the willing who gather periodically to be talked at, either by the Vicar or else the Treasurer, or else the wind-bag who always has an argument for every occasion. They are normally constituted by the faithful and willing who, when they are elected are bright-eyes and fluffy-tailed. By the end of their tenure, they are The Haunted - characterised my sallow-eyes and rictus grin. They will have given up many hours of useful life and devoted it to sitting in and among the Windbags (see above), then dutifully getting on with the task in hand - or put another way, everything that needs doing around the place. 

The level of work covered is very distinctive at such meetings. The wattage of the bulb for use over the Decani choir stalls, so that Old Mrs Miggins cataract isn't scorched; the pile gauge and weight of the carpet sample for the littlies to sit on so that their fragile derrieres are not assaulted by the curvature of medieval stone; the correct  brand of nasty powered-coffee for use after parish events with and without liturgy; the colour of the door knob to the parish office up the stairs that no-one can climb without crampons and a rope; oh, and the pre-payment and accrual basis of the accounts in the fiscal year to date (that only a graduate accountant can fathom). Get the idea?

Well, things they are a-changing. I have never enjoyed sit-in-circles PCCs where every minute detail of every irrelevancy is discussed to the Nth degree (by three people while the remaining fourteen lose the will to live). There is much to be learned by the models established by many school Governing Bodies. 

From now on, the members of my next PCC will all belong to a committee. There will be six committees that range across all of parish life (comms, finance, pastoral, hall, buildings and fabric, children and young people). They needn't run those committees, but be critical friends and communicators (in both directions of that). They will submit reports prior to PCC meetings so that we can read them and come armed to fewer meetings, not more. There will be no such person as a PCC member who does not exist on a committee. What would be the point? In the end, it won't be the onerous duty of a dozen or so press-ganged people to run the entire show; with smaller groups working in this way, half the parish will share the fun.


  1. Ahem! I am a Treasurer for my PCC and I don't talk at anyone! I do agree with the discussions of things to the nth degree though. Sadly my PCC will be without a treasurer for next year as I am retiring after moving into Aylesbury itself. With a congregation of 25 regular adults at church the committee thing wouldn't work for us, but it sounds very efficient and I hope it works for you. Anything to stop meetings on cold nights in November in a 15th Century church has to be good.

  2. And may the Lord have mercy upon you in your endeavours.

    (Our PCC used to be as big as the one in the piccie - then we had a cull!)

  3. It sounds like democracy in action. Rule by committee is the way of the Church and the Army. I've described committee's as death by hot air. The reason, Army wise seems be that they include every stakeholder in the agenda, whether it has anything to do with them or not!

    In our 5 Church Benefice we have three PCC's and our Benefice Council. The Benefice Council is the Vicar, leadership team and all of the Church Wardens. It's efficient and works well. We have to meetings a year and that is sufficient for any business across the Benefice. The Vicar is the fortunate Chair of the three PCC's, which will increase when another 4 churches join our Benefice due to Pastoral Reorganisation. We are hoping to form a District PCC, with Sub Committee's for each church - but the legal position is still unclear in respect of the Church Representation Rules, so we are waiting for guidance, which seems elusive. I'm sure it'll work, but we are not rushing into something, so complicated until it is properly thought through and, the rules on how it all works are clear and transparent.

    Happy days!

  4. "half the parish will share the fun" presumably the idea is that if you spread the misery thinly enough no-one will be too afflicted.
    You certainly enjoy stirring things up don't you? for the greater good of course.
    More power to your little elbows.

  5. Sounds good to me in your context, David. Anything has to be better than having all the minutiae at every meeting. Good luck!

  6. I have the doodles to prove I wasn't the 'wind bag' I did find my short stint very enlightening though. I had no idea that it was so fraught, the possibility of offending so many by the wrong choice of bulb wattage or paint shade is staggering!

  7. Now I know why you looked so jolly in the High Street today inspiite of the long wait at the pedestrian crossing.

    DH has been a PCC member, won't be again as he worries about the trustee status stuff, plus much was decided beforehand and the PCC were just a rubber stamp.

    I am not a committee type, nuff said.

  8. Excellent way of doing things in theory. From experience there are 2 dangers to be alert for: 1)PCC members failing to read committee reports in advance; 2)PCC members wanting to discuss ad infinitum every detail each committee's report/work. But with a strong and diplomatic person in the chair these dangers can be overcome.

  9. PS Thanks for the Eric Clapton. I'm slowly getting an education.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...