The procedures for electing members are laid down in Measures adopted by the General Synod of the Church of England, and are summarised as follows:
We have two Churchwardens. Churchwardens are elected for one year at a time, and they can serve for up to six consecutive years, although the custom and practice in this parish is for a maximum of five consecutive years.
To be eligible, a candidate must normally be: a lay person, at least 21 years of age, an actual communicant, on the electoral roll and not disqualified in any other way.
The electors are the parishioners gathered at a meeting announced and convened by the Minister. This meeting is called the Vestry Meeting and is usually scheduled to take place immediately prior to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM). Those eligible to attend are: the Minister, people on the Church electoral role, and people who are resident in the parish and whose names are entered on the local-government register of electors by virtue of being resident.
Candidates for election as Churchwardens must be nominated and seconded by people eligible to attend the meeting, and each candidate must have signed that he/she is willing to serve, and is not disqualified. Nomination papers must be received by the Minister before the start of the meeting. Where the number of candidates exceeds the vacancies, an election is held.
Parochial Church Council (PCC) Members
The PCC is a body corporate and acts in a way similar to a board of trustees. The Minister chairs the PCC, and the Churchwardens are automatically members. So too are any people on the electoral roll who are members of the Deanery, Diocesan or General Synods. Church law defines the number of PCC members, based on the size of the electoral roll, and in this Parish we have 10 positions for elected lay members. Elected PCC members serve for a maximum of 3 consecutive years. Nominally, a third of the members retire each year.
To be eligible, a candidate must be at least 16 years of age, and have been on the electoral role for at least 6 months (with the exception of people who are under 18 years of age).
The electors are the people on the electoral roll, gathered at the APCM.
Candidates for election as PCC members must be nominated and seconded by people on the electoral roll, and a candidate must have signed that he/she is willing to serve. Nominations can be made up to and during the APCM meeting. Again, where the number of candidates exceeds the vacancies, an election is held.
During the year, the PCC may also Co-opt additional members, up to one fifth of the number of elected members, or 2; whichever is the greater. The term of office of a co-opted person is until the conclusion of the next APCM.
Deanery Synod Representatives
As a parish we elect two (was three) people to be members of the Sevenoaks Deanery Synod. The eligibility and election arrangements are similar to those for PCC members described above, except that candidates must be at least 18 years of age.
As stated previously, Deanery Synod Representatives automatically also become members of the PCC.