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Churchwardens Measure

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 21st November 2001.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour/Co-operative, Stroud

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement on the Churchwardens Measure.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

The Churchwardens Measure 2001 provides a comprehensive set of rules about the appointment of churchwardens and their tenure of office, building on earlier legislation. Most of the Measure has caused no controversy, and the draft provisions about which the Ecclesiastical Committee expressed concern, relating to the possible suspension of a churchwarden from exercising his or her duties, were deleted by the General Synod and form no part of the Measure.

The Measure will come into force on 1 January 2002, and will apply to the elections of churchwardens at the annual meetings held in parishes from 2002 onwards. A good deal of information about the new rules has already been published and more guidance will be issued before the Measure comes into force.

The new rule that a churchwarden may not serve for more than six years without a break is laid down in the Measure as the norm, but the parishioners of an individual parish will be free to decide that the rule is not to apply in their case. As the six years will not start to run until the Measure comes into force, there will be ample time for every parish to consider the matter and reach its own decision.

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