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THE WATERSIDE BENEFICE 

OUR CHURCH WARDENS

Welcome to the page that tells you about our Church Wardens. The role is unpaid, voluntary and demanding, but rewarding. It is also vital to the running of a church. The Church of England expects a church to have two Wardens, but, in exceptional circumstances and for as short a period as possible, a church may function with only one. Wardens are elected by their PCC and may serve for a period of 3 years. Wardens may then be elected for a further 3 year period. After that, it is expected that Wardens stand down and have a break for at least 1 year. There is provision for this to be set aside in times of particular need and Wardens may continue to serve for an agreed additional period of time.

Who are we?

Devoran: Anne Ramsden

St. Feock: Martin Davey

St. Piran's, Perranarworthal: David Simmons and Paul Stuart

Our contact details may be found on the Useful Numbers page of this website.

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What do we do?

       In co-operation with the priest in charge (or, in cases of vacancy, the bishop), Churchwardens are generally responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the parish. These responsibilities include various aspects of administration, buildings and people. Our  work is not just the maintenance of the church building, but helping the smooth running of the church. In this capacity, wardens are considered the leading lay member of the congregation, and, during the incumbency of a priest, may have varying duties and responsibilities according to the customs of the parish, the canons of the diocese to which the parish belongs, the desires of the priest, and the direction of the parish board and/or the congregation as a whole.

     Many of the Churchwarden's responsibilities are connected with building maintenance, such as temperature control, roof repair, seating, lighting, etc. If the parish has a Sexton, the wardens would normally consult and coordinate with him or her on these matters. Churchwardens are also responsible for carrying out (or at least organizing) an annual inspection of the church building. They hold a key to the church and are entitled to access at any time. The grounds of the church also come under the purview of the Churchwardens, and depending on the size and location of the church, the grounds may include a cemetary, gardens, driveway and/or car park. 

     There are also responsibilities in connection with the Sunday services and for keeping order in the church. Churchwardens have a duty to make sure that the clergy can conduct their services and other meetings without hindrance. This requires that any visitors or newcomers are welcomed and assisted, that there is adequate seating, proper lighting and heating, and that all other facilities required are in place, including safety requirements. Churchwardens should be on hand to welcome guest preachers, the Archdeacon or Bishop when they visit, and offer any help as needed. On the rare occasion of a major disturbance within (or immediately outside) the church, the Churchwardens take primary responsibility in dealing with the matter and have the power to arrest anyone or escort them off the premises if necessary.

       Churchwardens are required to respond to ‘official’ questions about the parish, and have to make various reports each year to the annual parochial meeting and to the Archdeacon. They may be trustees of some charitable trust connected with the church and are required to keep detailed records of all property, professional inspections, alterations and repairs. They are expected to attend all the meetings of the parish council and the standing committees, and should meet and pray regularly with the parish priest.

     In some parishes, the Churchwardens are responsible for counting the Collection and recording the amount in the service Register, and determining (along with the PCC ) how funds are to be allocated. In other parishes, collection duties may be undertaken by The Treasurer.

     In many parishes, Churchwardens have the authority to officiate at Morning and Evening Prayer if a priest or licensed lay person is unavailable. The only areas in which wardens almost always have no authority, often proscribed by canon, is music and liturgy, which is considered to be under the exclusive authority of the priest or bishop in charge of the parish. As members of other parish committees and groups, Churchwardens are often able to offer advice and assistance. Each warden will have her or his own particular areas of knowledge and interests; between them they should not only fulfill their formal duties but also deal with unexpected problems and add to the general well-being of the parish.

   During an Interregnum (the time between the departure of the current rector and the arrival of a new incumbent), Churchwardens will share the overall responsibility for the church and its worship activities with the Regional or Rural Dean. They will arrange for guest preachers to take the Sunday services (and any other events) and handle their expenses. The two Churchwardens together are usually responsible for announcing the final selection and arrival of a new incumbent to the parish, by reading aloud the Bishop’s official letter of appointment during the Sunday service.

Churchwarden’s Meeting - Wednesday 1st September at 7pm. Perranarworthal


PRESENT: Rev’d. Karen Wilson (KW), Martin Davey (MW) for St. Feock, Anne Ramsden (AR) for Devoran, David Simmons (DS) and Paul Stuart (PS) for St. Piran’s, Perranarworthal.

Welcome and Opening Prayer - Revd Karen

1. Safeguarding/DBS and training

KW asked each church for an update about DBS checks and Certification and moved on to seek information about the training situation in each church. MW reported that St. Feock is up to date on both counts. AR said she would check the situation at Devoran, but felt there was probably some work to be done. PS said that the Safeguarding Officer at St. Piran’s is in the process of checking up, but those who needed DBS had certification. KW said that JCC members need to do the basic training and that DBS certification covers those on the JCC.

2. Church Attendance

KW was keen to ascertain how the Covid 19 pandemic had affected attendance. AR said there had been a slight drop but nothing significant. PS reported numbers had been steady with no worrying trends. MD reported that numbers had slightly increased. With an average of 45.5 each Sunday. Each church said that it was confident that the small number of people who are still to return will do so as we gradually emerge from the strictures of Covid 19.

3. Covid-19 restrictions and risk assessment

Each church reported that risk assessments were continually monitored with the aim of gradually easing the tight restrictions that have been necessary. No particular issues were apparent. The wearing of masks, distancing and singing were the areas currently being dealt with.

4. Maintenance issues

AR said the refurbishment was almost complete with painting being the last task to be done. MD said St. Feock church had a few slates on the roof to be dealt with. PS said the main concern at St. Piran’s was trees in the closed churchyard. Work had been done to remove the most immediate potential danger of falling branches and the local authority has a plan to deal with the remaining problems. There is an email audit trail on what has been happening, but there is concern that the work is not being done as rapidly as it should. The fall of a large tree some time ago was mentioned by DS. The bell tower has had its window openings made safe from incursions by birds and squirrels.

5. Pastoral issues

KW asked for referrals to be sent to her so that she can follow up any case that may need a visit from her. She has received these from Devoran and St. Piran’s. MD for St. Feock said there were none at present. Each church has developed its own way of looking after members of the congregation who needed help. MD said that a group of carers were meeting at Linden Hey on a regular basis to share experiences and hopefully improve their provision. The problem of carers themselves being in need of help was raised and she had noticed households struggling with both carer and cared for in need of help. PS highlighted the problem of people at Treliske hospital waiting to go home being held up due to lack of care provision by the local authority as well as care problems at home. KW said she has already made several home visits and asked that the details of those considered to be in crisis and/or in need of a visit should be passed to her. She is making sure she keeps a record of her visits.

6. Churchyards

Each church has a plan of churchyards, either on file in the safe, and/or on computer. There is space available for the foreseeable future in each location. DS mentioned that Perranarworthal Parish Council is responsible for the spaces now available in the graveyard at St. Piran’s, but the interment and children’s areas had space available and remained under the control of the church.

7. Quinquennial Inspections

Inspection at Devoran is due in 2025, St. Feock had an inspection last year and St. Piran’s two years ago. No worrying problems have been identified.

8. Sidespeople, Servers and welcomers

No problems were reported at St. Feock and St.Piran’s, with each church having sufficient volunteers to cover these activities, as well as reading and intercessions. AR, said Devoran is short of sides-men on one week and may have a problem depending on what Adrian and Mandy Walker decide about supporting Evensong. A solution is being sought.

9. AOB

a- MD asked whether the use of Vergers could be shown as compulsory in the weddings information on the website. PS said the fees for all our activities were shown on the website as either compulsory or optional, reflecting the C of E regulations. Our own website cannot portray Vergers fees as compulsory because they are not. However, KW said that she is firm that Vergers need to be included in wedding fees when she visits potential wedding couples, and will continue to make every effort in that direction. 

b- MD asked KW whether e-mails that she sends could be targeted clearly as being for the attention of somebody with a specific role. KW said she sends emails to those who need the information being sent, and if she would like a response she asks for it.

c- The need to use BCC for data protection was mentioned.

d- KW said the rota for the Christmas period was being worked on and she was waiting for information from St. Feock as to their wishes in order to complete the work and publish a draft. MD gave details of what St. Feock would be doing and KW said she’d look at the overall picture and produce a plan a s a p.

e- AR suggested a card be sent to Esther Pollard in to thank her for the administrative work. Agreed.

10. Date of next meeting

Wednesday 1st December at 6.00 pm at Devoran

Closing Prayer

The meeting closed with prayer 

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