The Churchwardens’ duties are set out in Canon E1 of the Canons of the Church of England, and can be summarised as follows:
- To be foremost in representing the laity and co-operating with the parish priest (including a regular meeting) in the encouragement of true religion, unity and peace.
- To welcome minsters and (with their goodwill) to give out the notices, see that the registers (and burial plan) are completed, and in the absence of an authorised minister, arrange for a suitable lay person to lead Morning or Evening Prayer.
- To welcome the congregation, allocate seats, and maintain order in the church and churchyard with the help of the sidesmen.
- To supervise the collection, record it in the register and pass it on to the treasurer, and see that all fees, expenses and shares are paid.
- To provide, at the PCC’s expense, the bread and wine for Holy Communion and other requisites and registers for public worship and sacraments, and see all is ready for the services.
- To bring to the attention of the bishop or archdeacon anything that is specially well or amiss in the parish, and reply to the articles of enquiry.
- To arrange during a vacancy with the rural dean (and assistant clergy or readers) for the conduct of public worship and pastoral care, and to look after the parsonage house and garden.
- To hold in trust the moveable furnishings, plate and registers of the church, keeping an inventory of them, which should be produced at the APCM with a signed statement of its accuracy and passed on to their successors, and to act when required as trustees of parochial trusts and charities.
- To see that the quinquennial inspection is carried out, the logbook kept, faculties applied for, and a report presented at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (this can be delegated to a fabric officer).
Although this is not an exhaustive list, it gives a flavour of what is involved in being a churchwarden, and shows that the job carries the opportunity to make a really positive contribution to church life.