PCCs (Parochial Church Councils) are usually the place where discussions and decisions affecting the local church happen. Because they have rules and regulations about how they are run, they may not be the most natural place place for children and young people to be found. But their voice needs to be heard by PCCs.
Some older young people may want to explore being part of the PCC - the following is an attempt to help them 'uncover' what goes on, and to offer suggestions of how PCC can hear what they have to say.
A user friendly guide for young people
So what is the PCC? (Parochial Church Council)
The PCC is the legal governing body of the parish church. Its main function is to work with the Vicar 'to promote in the parish the whole mission of the Church'. That's a pretty big task! There will be a Chair (someone to lead the meetings), a Secretary (the person who makes notes of everything that is discussed and decided) and a Treasurer (the person who looks after the church budget and keeps an eye on the money).Most of the other members will be elected by the congregation to be part of the PCC.
The PCC might find itself making decisions about:
- Ministry and mission
- Church buildings and land
- Money matters
- Pastoral care
- Legal matters
- Social and community concerns
- Anything else to do with the local church - or even the national church
How does the local church and PCC fit with the rest of the Church of England?
The Church of England is part of the world wide Anglican Communion of churches. It's rather like a jigsaw with many pieces! These include:
- 2 Provinces which cover the whole of England, the Isle of Man, the Scilly Isles, a little bit of Wales and continental Europe. The Archbishop of Canterbury leads the Southern Province, and the Archbishop of York leads the Northern Province.
- Each Province is made up of Dioceses. There are 41 Dioceses in England as well as the Diocese in Europe. Each Diocese is led by a Diocesan Bishop.
- Each Diocese in England is divided into parishes - and your PCC helps to lead your parish. (There are more than 16,000 Church of England churches!)
- The local PCC will contribute to and act on decisions made in other Church of England governing bodies such as deanery, diocesan or General Synod
- The Church of England Youth Council (CEYC) who represent the views and opinions of children and young people at a national level at General Synod
You can find out even more about the Church of England here.
Can young people be involved with the PCC?
YES! You can be elected on to the PCC if you are:
- Aged 16 or over
- On the church electoral roll
- Living in the parish or have regularly attended the church for at least six months
When you are elected to the PCC, your views and opinions are as valid as anyone else’s, whatever age you are. You can vote and be part of any smaller groups that the PCC sets up. And you can help the older members understand what younger church members are thinking.
But I'm not 16 yet....
You can still have your voice heard! if there's something you are passionate about you could:
- ask to attend a meeting so that you can talk to the PCC about your passion
- talk with a PCC member and ask him/her to bring your concerns to the PCC
- write a letter to the PCC
- talk with your vicar about other ways that your voice could be heard
Top tips for young people on the PCC
- Team up with one of the experienced adults on the PCC for support
- Make sure you when and where the PCC is meeting
- Always read the agenda and the minutes (notes of the last meeting) beforehand
- If there is anything you don’t understand, ask someone to explain
- Think about what you want to say in advance. Write it down and read it if it helps
- Don’t be embarrassed about expressing opinions and asking questions
- Speak clearly without repeating yourself
- Allow enough time to get an item on to the agenda (this may be quite a long time ahead)
- Try to always be constructive through offering positive suggestions
- Avoid putting down the opinions of others
- Try not to take things personally, especially if they don’t go as you hoped
- Avoid getting caught up in arguments
- Know when to remain quiet!
- Avoid gossip about issues raised at the PCC, and if something is confidential don't talk about it!
- If a PCC meeting is becoming frustrating and you are struggling, take some time out
Top tips for PCCs with young people
- When a young person is elected to the PCC or invited to be part of a meeting, offer them a Mentor who will talk things through beforehand, guide them through the meeting and answer any questions they have.
- Consider having a PCC induction session (which would be useful for ALL new members, not just younger ones).
- Think through where and when the PCC meets - adult needs might to sometimes give way in order for young people to fully participate.
- Look at the papers for the PCC - could a summary also be provided which is jargon free and outlines the main points?
- Deliberately invite contributions in discussions from the young person.
- Don't allow older PCC members dominate or look down on the younger members.
- Be open to hearing challenges and new possibilities.
- Enjoy being the people of God together!