IMPORTANT INFORMATION posted 20 March 2020

Coronavirus is bringing us significant challenges as we approach what would normally be one of the Church’s busiest seasons. Bishop Steven and the area bishops have already issued guidance concerning parochial matters in relation to services and supporting clergy in their ministry.

Across the diocesan senior staff team, we are seeking to provide appropriate leadership, guidance and support on all the many issues that arise as quickly as we reasonably can, without overwhelming any of us by trying to deal with everything instantly.  Dioceses are working magnificently together and with the national Church to address issues that affect all parishes.  Please bear with us as we grapple with these at pace, but without keeling over. We will be in this new situation for some time.

While most Church House staff are now working from home, please rest assured that we are doing our utmost to provide as normal a service as is possible in these extraordinary times: emails and phone calls (which are being diverted) will continue to be answered in working hours.

It is completely understandable that many of you in the past week have sought clarity over Annual Parochial Church Meetings (APCMs) and this year’s Deanery Synod elections.  Some have queried why we could not provide this as soon as Registrars were given some advice in the middle of the week.  This advice only partially answered the various questions and I am pleased to say that we now have a full answer, which is being applied consistently across dioceses.

Bishop Steven at the end of yesterday signed a legal instrument to allow Oxford Diocese to extend the deadline for parishes to hold their annual meetings up to the end of October 2020. This means that current office holders will be able to remain in office longer than they would otherwise do so.

There is not currently provision for these APCMs to be held virtually and it would be inconsistent with Government advice for any parish to be holding these APCMs for the foreseeable future. Therefore, those APCMs currently scheduled should be postponed.

I would suggest either not setting a revised date yet or setting a date in September or October.

Click this link for a copy of the signed Instrument of Statute which has allowed changes to the current Church Representation Rules to cover this extended period. There are also some explanatory notes which we ask you to read carefully. This advice covers the Meeting of parishioners to choose churchwardens, APCMs and the election of representatives of the laity to Deanery Synod.  It extends the current term of existing appointees to the various roles.

Conduct of PCC meetings

Archdeacons have already indicated the need to maintain some normality during what could be a lengthy period, and this has my full support. We are encouraging PCC standing committees to meet, where possible, using remote meeting technology and digital collaboration tools to ensure governance continues (and/or to use rule M29 to conduct business by correspondence if needed).

As confidence grows using the technology, PCCs can hold discussions by remote meeting technology and then transact their business using the “correspondence” provision under the Rule. In accordance with Rule M29 of the Church Representation Rules 2020 the chair of the PCC can decide to conduct any PCC business by correspondence and accordingly ask the PCC Secretary to send proposals requiring PCC members’ approval by post or by e-mail. The chair must specify a reasonable time period within which objections to the proposals should be submitted, otherwise the proposals are treated as being approved at the specified date.

As PCC Secretary, we ask that you immediately share this advice with your PCC members so that everyone is fully aware.

Please also remember that this advice extends to the appointment of Churchwardens and you should contact your area archdeacon’s office for any further advice if in doubt.

If you have any queries on any matter concerning APCMs, please do not hesitate to contact Caroline Todd in the first instance:

There is already a copious amount of guidance that has now been sent out and published on the diocesan website and we will continue to provide regular updates of any significant changes.  Church House Oxford is now closed to visitors, but it is important that we maintain as much as we can a sense of normality. Find out how to contact diocesan staff.

None of us will underestimate the impact of the position we now find ourselves in as we all continue to make sense of the enormity of the issue. We will all need to find new ways of supporting and enabling church members to continue the mission and ministry of the Church at a time when it is crucial to reach out to those will feel alone and distressed.

You very much remain in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to pray for you daily in Church House. Thank you for all that you are doing to remain as one community and as part of our diocesan family. Our commitment to our parishes remains as strong as ever, as we all continue to serve Christ together.

Yours sincerely

Mark Humphriss
Diocesan Secretary

Guidance specific to the 2020 annual parochial church meeting (APCM) and meeting for election of churchwardens is available here:

Presentation on Governance Diocesan Registrar 2019 pdf

Forms referred to in the 2020 guidance are available in pdf and Word format as below. (click where it says pdf or word, not on the title).  Click here, for the letter.  All  of the forms below are  available as a single document, you can download it here as a pdf APCM Bundle

Electoral roll

ER-revision-guidance-Covid-19 v2

E1 Notice of preparation of new church electoral roll 2020 Word  / pdf

E2 Application for enrolment on church electoral roll (SG1) Word / pdf

E3 Electoral roll certificate Word / pdf

Annual parochial church meeting (APCM)

Summary of changes to Church Representation Rules  pdf

M1 Notice of annual parochial church meeting  Word / pdf

M2 APCMs – notes for PCC Secretaries pdf 

M3 Nomination for election of PCC member at APCM  Word /pdf

M4 Office holder Data Consent form  Word

M5 Fit and Proper Person Declaration Word  /pdf

M6 Election Results Form Word /pdf

Timetable and Summary of Actions  pdf

Meeting for election of churchwardens

C1 Notice of meeting for election of churchwardens Word  / pdf

C2 Churchwarden’s nomination form  Word / pdf

Churchwardens, on election to office and on admission, must complete a declaration form to be sent to the relevant Archdeacon.  This will automatically be sent in the Visitation packs in late April/ early May.
They may also be obtained from deanery administrators.

Election of Deanery Synod Representatives (Next election to take place at APCMs by 31st May 2020)

Information is contained in the Diocesan Secretary’s letter above.

NEW: Lay Representatives to deanery synod (new triennium) members will be elected to serve from 1st July 2020 to 3oth  June 2023.

D2 Nomination of lay member of Deanery Synod Word

D3 Elections Results sheet Word / pdf

Deanery Synod Rep calculations 2020.

Table for calculating the number of lay representatives is contained in each individual deanery sheet. See link click here