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I want to stop being a churchwarden

(37 Posts)
carlajean Sun 20-Jan-13 18:57:53

I've been a churchwarden for 1 1/2 years and, as my husband's retiring, decided I wanted to resign so that we could travel. So I emailed the PCC and vicar to give them 6 months notice (I'm stopping at the AGM, and we're going away at the beginning of May. I've reminded the Vicar 3 times that I'm finishing, but his response each time is to say that I'm still officially in post until the Archdeacon's Visitation later in May, and, if no one steps forward to take up the post, I'll officially be CW until the end of July.
I am aware that this is difficult for the church, especially as the other CW decided to stop at the same time, and no one else wants to do the job, but am I being unreasonable to be upset at how difficult they are making it for me to leave a voluntary position?

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sat 26-Jan-13 11:42:02

What shape is God? Is one person's god a different shape to another's?

colditz Fri 25-Jan-13 18:54:47

God shaped gap bwahhhhhhhh ha ha ha ha! That's the funniest concept I've ever heard.

GinandJag Fri 25-Jan-13 18:12:10

The process of appointing a new vicar is a three-way partnership between PCC representatives, the patron and the diocese. No one's opinion trumps the other - they basically all have to agree.

Churchwardens are short listed by the standing committee and given the nod by the PCC. The vicar is part of the standing committee but his vote carries same weight as the other representatives.

MaryBS Thu 24-Jan-13 08:00:02

No, we might be involved in the selection process, but CWs change. I wasn't CW when our current vicar was appointed. The PCC decides who is on the selection panel.

townbuiltonahill Thu 24-Jan-13 00:21:29

Well - betraying my ignorance - I understood that the CWs appoint the Vicar, not the other way round.

Trots off hastily to do some research .....

carlajean Wed 23-Jan-13 12:04:01

thank you to everybody for their responses. I haven't come back sooner as I'm away from home at the moment, but I've very much appreciated the discussion. The other warden resigned after me, and I don't feel it's right for me to say that they should stay. I've now emailed the Bishop and shall be writing to him when I get home.

MrsHoarder Mon 21-Jan-13 22:47:04

Not everyone has such faith in vicars. We lost 2 in a row in disgrace, which made it very clear that they are only too human.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 22:29:32

The $64MM question is why do you care?

Is it your God-shaped gap?

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 21:28:19

Ok, well the vicar should at least be trying to help rather than just being a complete arse about it (not very Christian is it?).

And ultimately, what is going to be the consequence of walking away? No one seems to be able to provide an answer to this.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 21:13:47

Gosh, Pedro, I wish you would acquaint yourself with Wikipedia.

The vicar/rector is not the "first line manager" of a churchwarden. It is the bishop. How hard is this to understand?

It is unusual for a churchwarden to resign mid-year as their appointment is only for a year so the simplest thing is just not to stand again. If they need to go earlier, to write to their boss (the bish).

July is the end of the churchwarden appointment, which allows a handover process. In effect, newly elected churchwardens will be on duty in services from the first Sunday after the APCM, but there will be some duties where they are not fully in charge until after the Archdeacon's visit, during which time the old cw will continue.

It is unusual for both CW to go at the same time. Normally one will step down and the other will cover everything between the APCM, the archdeacon's visit and the end of July.

TheProvincialLady Mon 21-Jan-13 20:37:48

The church will not be closed if they cant find a new churchwarden within 2 months. A church near me has been without a churchwarden for at least 4 years that I know of. It's not ideal but it won't close the church.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 20:36:01

It's a strange hierarchy apparently. Surely the vicar is the equivalent of a first line manager in this case. If I wanted to resign from my job, my obligation would be to notify my direct manager even though they are not directly responsible for re-hiring for my position. That manager would pass this up to their manager if appropriate. It seems reasonable to me that notice given to the vicar would be sufficient and if not, the vicar should be advising the correct course of action rather than just stating that you can't leave. The vicar is being unreasonable.

MaryBS Mon 21-Jan-13 20:35:58

Not sure why you would be officially CW until the end of July. Yes its true that you are still in post until the Archdeacon's visitation, but they can't stop you from taking holiday in May, churchwardens are allowed to take holidays! You've told the vicar you aren't going to stand at the APCM so that should be enough, then you are not technically resigning, you're just not putting yourself up for re-election! If you are still having problems, PM me and I'll see if I can help.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 20:31:39

Maybe he did...

MrsHoarder Mon 21-Jan-13 20:29:44

Yes but her vicar should have told her that. Not just done a broken record about July.

Hope you get it all sorted now you know op.

zipzap Mon 21-Jan-13 20:29:04

Did the other cw get their resignation in just before or after yours? Ie making the vicar think that as you are the last one there he's going to hang on to you for as long as possible?

Write to the bishop If that's what needs to be done and cc in your vicar and the archdeacon. Say that it's not going to be possible to continue in the role from xxx date (and say that the vicar already is aware of this, that you have only just found out you are supposed to tell bishop too).

And then whenever the vicar tries to get you to do anything after the date, just keep repeating that you're not going to be there because you've resigned from xxx date and you're going travelling or whatever so wont be there anyway.

If you want the service that it sounds like you are supposed to have - then either say your are happy to have it before you resign (according to your dates) but you won't be available after that or that you'll stop being a cw but if you're there you will be happy to go back for the service after you have left.

What would happen normally if you wanted to go away on holiday?

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 20:23:43


It is not the vicar's place to appoint or release a churchwarden.

It is the bishop's.

The OP needs to write to the bishop, not text/email the vicar.

MrsHoarder Mon 21-Jan-13 20:20:15

Ffs. If someone is pressured into a role which they are told is voluntary and gives 6 months notice that they can no longer continue then they have filled their duty as far as any reasonable person can see.

The reason people are asking about repercussions is because the vicar is the person not behaving reasonably. The reasonable thing to do would have been to make an announcement as soon as possible after receiving notice that they would have to do whatever the emergency warden finding system is (I know there is one, in my old parish we got a replacement in autumn after Mr C died in post). Not refuse to accept this notice. As such the op would be within her rights to continue living her life in the way she wishes, and if the vicar is left high and dry he will have to arrange for the gap to be covered. But the OP should probably also check what the legal repercussions of doing this are and give notice higher up if possible. It would be unwise to walk away and let the vicar sort out a mess of his own making if the fallout would include a gaol term.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 20:18:48

The church is not being unreasonable.

There is a very simple process to follow to resign as churchwarden.

It is to write to the bishop and then be released from duties within 2 months.

The other thing is to do nothing and be released by the end of July.


It is even easier to learn the duties and responsibilities of the post before standing for election.

As for your other questions, linky

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 20:13:58

The OP wants to leave the position and believes that the church is being unreasonable. So this is not so much about sense of duty.

What do the ecclesiastical courts do? (genuinely interested).

It's not that I'm only motivated by avoiding law suits and I'm insulted that you'd suggest that the secular do not have any sense of duty. My point was that you implied that this was a legal position which made leaving it more complicated. This is clearly misleading.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 20:02:19

Some people have the sense of duty.

It might seem odd from a secular register, but not everyone is motivated by not getting sued. They do things because they know it is right. Most churchwardens are very wholesome and fall into this camp. They tend to not worry about punishment because they walk the narrow path.

However, there are ecclesiastical courts, as set by an act of parliament.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 19:58:35

You said it's a legal position. My question really is, what does that mean? If it's not a criminal offence to leave the role then what's the problem.

The Prime Minister is an elected role, but he could step down if he really wanted. Also the OP said it was done to help out a do these elections work?

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 19:50:35

Why on earth (or in heaven) would you be criminally charged?


PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 21-Jan-13 19:49:35

Can you be criminally charged for stepping down from the post?

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 19:03:10


A church warden is a link between the bishop and the laity.

They have a lot of diverse responsibilities, including buildings and finances, as well as clergy discipline.

It is the oldest elected office in England.

If you are in a CofE church, you have two wardens. They may be the people who count you into the services.

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