2023 Officer Returns FAQs
By now you will have received your returns packs from the Diocese along with nominations forms for those who will serve on the Ministry Area Council, as well as nominations for your Ministry Area Wardens and other posts.
I have recently been asked for some clarity by some colleagues on the way forward, so I will do my best to set out below the ‘path’ as best I can.
There has been some misunderstanding about the process. However, it is important to stress that this year is a year of transition. Everything is not going to happen ‘overnight’ so that the people who have served their churches well will not suddenly find themselves with nothing to do but will still, if they wish, be serving on their individual church committees.
More information is to be released shortly and more information will appear on the Ministry Area pages of the website.
a) Individual churches will nominate and vote on their representative for the Ministry Area Council. All Churches in each of the new Ministry Areas have been invited to submit one member to represent them. If they cannot nominate or vote a member at this stage then possibly one representative could stand for two (or more) churches to simplify matters in the case of smaller congregations. These members are to be submitted to the designated Ministry Area Leader (form NF1)
b) There has been some concern over a ‘job description’ for the Ministry Area Council member but that has now been published. It may seem somewhat long and daunting for some but in effect it mirrors much of what PCC members were obliged to adhere to in the management of Parish and Benefice matters and is required by the Charities Commission
c) At Your Annual Vestry Meetings (Before 30th April) the reports and accounts for the year 2022 will be presented and accepted and a line drawn under the business of the Parish/Benefice as it currently stands. The name/names of those who will represent the church/churches in their benefice/Parish will be noted and those names will be submitted in the return to Brecon. (form NF3)
d) Following on from this Parish/Benefice Vestry Meeting a date will be set for a Ministry Area Vestry Meeting at which the designated Ministry Area Leader will preside. At this meeting the names of those comprising the Ministry Area Council can be confirmed. More importantly this is the meeting at which the votes for the two Ministry Area Warden Nominations will be counted and the two names announced. (A role description for the Ministry Area wardens has been published and mirrors again much of what a Parish/Benefice warden would be doing at present)
At the PCC vestry meeting, those wishing to stand for the role of Ministry ‘Area Warden will be asked to complete a self-nomination form and forward it to the designated Ministry Area Leader. To Vote on these two officers people need to physically attend the first Ministry Area Vestry Meeting as there can be no proxy votes as per the constitution.
e) In addition, the MA Vestry will also elect members to the Diocesan Conference and Diocesan Standing Committee.
f) This MA Vestry meeting must happen within 2 weeks of the licensing service with Bishop John the date and location of which will by now be decided upon.
g) At the Ministry Area Vestry meeting a date for the first meeting of the Ministry Area Council should be agreed, to take place as soon as possible. At this meeting a Lay chair should be appointed from within the members, agreed by a majority vote. A treasurer and secretary should also be appointed. The treasurer and secretary could be, but do not have to be existing members of the Council; they could be co-opted to the Council based on their relevant skillsets. They should be agreed by a majority vote. Each MA is also allowed up to 7 additional co-options to the MAC who may be co-opted for their skills and expertise in an area of church life. All co-options are full Trustee members. This may help in some way to balance out the numbers on the MAC to be representative of all the existing clusters across a Ministry Area in the case of Ministry Areas that have a smaller number of churches.
h) In the meantime the role of the Parish/Benefice PCC changes. It becomes an informal non elected church committee that may appoint members to it as well as electing two Subwardens and choosing a treasurer and secretary in the usual way.
i) The church committee should meet at least four times a year, it is not a legal body but a sub-committee of the MAC. The elected church representative to the MAC should be a member of the church committee, to aid communication between the two bodies.
j) In effect this is the start of a year of transition as we look at accounts and charity status as well as setting up the sub committees to the Ministry Area Council that may wish to look at finance as well as building matters and of course Mission.
k) By the time your Ministry Area Council meets for the first time headway could have been made in gathering all MA treasurers together to agree on the split of the Ministry Area Share for 2023. This should then be discussed at the MAC and agreed (or otherwise). There is no one perfect formulae and no one size fits all so in a sense we are reliant on Christian generosity and common sense.
l) It is hoped to have the Ministry Area Administrator in early June so that they will be able to assist in this transition work. The Administrator can not however be a member of the MAC or be its secretary as the person will be employed by the Diocese and is constitutionally prohibited from being a Trustee.
I trust you will find this helpful. The devil as they say is always in the detail but whatever challenges the process and the year ahead may throw at us I am sure that they can be overcome with prayer, patience and goodwill amongst the churches that are very much at the heart of this change.
After Easter we will be releasing some dates for Ministry Area Away days at Llangasty funded by the Diocese and can take up to 26 lay people from your Ministry Area as a group to look and reflect on the nature of Mission and Ministry in your newly formed Area. More information to follow.
The Ven Peter Brooks, Archdeacon with Responsibility for Ministry Areas