The Church Representation Rules, which are contained in Schedule 3 to the Synodical Government Measure 1969, comprise the principal legislation relating to the democratic government of the Church of England. They extend to the Isle of Man subject to considerable modifications by virtue of the Church Act 1987 (an Act of Tynwald) and subsequent legislation. For further details see Church Legislation in the Isle of Man and Manx Church Legislation by K F W Gumbley (4th ed., Douglas, 2014).

The text shown is that in force on 1st July 2015.


PART I
CHURCH ELECTORAL ROLL

1. Formation of roll

(1) There shall be a church electoral roll (in these rules referred to as "the roll") in every parish, on which the names of lay persons shall be entered as hereinafter provided. The roll shall be available for inspection by bona fide inquirers.

(2) A lay person shall be entitled to have his name entered on the roll of a parish, if he is baptised, of sixteen years or upwards, has signed an application form for enrolment set out in Appendix 1 of these rules and declares himself either —

(a) to be a member of the Church of England or of a Church in communion therewith resident in the parish; or
(b) to be such a member and, not being so resident, to have habitually attended public worship in the parish during a period of six months prior to enrolment; or
(c) to be a member in good standing of a Church not in communion with the Church of England which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and also to be a member of the Church of England and to have habitually attended public worship in the parish during a period of six months prior to enrolment.

Provided that where a lay person will have his sixteenth birthday after the intended revision of the electoral roll or the preparation of a new roll but on or before the date of the annual parochial church meeting, he may complete a form of application and his name shall be enrolled but with effect from the date of his birthday.

(4) A person shall be entitled to have his name on the roll of each of any number of parishes if he is entitled by virtue of paragraph (2) of this rule to have his name entered on each roll; but a person whose name is entered on the roll of two or more parishes must choose one of those parishes for the purposes of the provisions of these rules which prescribe the qualifications for election to a diocesan synod or the General Synod or for membership of a parochial church council under rule 14(1)(f).

(5) The roll shall, until a parochial church council has been constituted in a parish, be formed and revised by the minister and churchwardens (if any), and shall, after such council has been constituted, be kept and revised by or under the direction of the council. Reference in this rule to a parochial church council shall, so far as may be necessary for giving effect to these rules, be construed as including references to the minister and churchwardens (if any).

(6) Where a new parish is created by a pastoral scheme, the roll of that parish shall in the first instance consist —

(a) in the case of a parish created by the union of two or more former parishes, of the rolls of those parishes combined to form one roll;
(b) in any other case, of the names of the persons whose names are at the date of the coming into existence of the new parish entered on the roll of a parish the whole or any part of which forms part of the new parish and who are either resident in the new parish or have habitually attended public worship therein.

(7) The parochial church council shall appoint a church electoral roll officer to act under its direction for the purpose of carrying out its functions with regard to the electoral roll.

(8) The names of persons who are entitled to have their names entered upon the roll of the parish shall, subject to the provisions of these rules, be from time to time added to the roll. It shall be the duty of the church electoral roll officer to keep the roll constantly up to date by the addition and removal of names as from time to time required by these rules and to report such additions and removals at the next meeting of the parochial church council. When additions and removals have been made by the electoral roll officer a list of such amendments shall be published by being exhibited continuously for not less than fourteen days on or near the principal door of every church in the parish and every building in the parish licensed for public worship in such manner as the council may appoint and the list shall contain notification of the right of appeal referred to in rule 43.

(9) Subject to the provisions of this rule, a person's name shall, as the occasion arises, be removed from the roll, if he —

(a) has died; or
(b) becomes a clerk in Holy Orders; or
(c) signifies in writing his desire that his name should be removed; or
(d) ceases to reside in the parish, unless after so ceasing he continues, in any period of six months, to attend public worship in the parish, unless prevented from doing so by illness or other sufficient cause; or
(e) is not resident in the parish and has not habitually attended public worship in the parish during the preceding six months, not having been prevented from doing so by illness or other sufficient cause;
(f) was not entitled to have his name entered on the roll at the time when it was entered.

(10) The removal of a person's name from the roll under any of the provisions of these rules shall be without prejudice to his right to have his name entered again, if he has or acquires that right.

(11) The roll shall where practicable contain a record of the address of every person whose name is entered on the roll, but a failure to comply with this requirement shall not prejudice the validity of any entry on the roll.

2. Revision of roll and preparation of new roll

(1) Except in a year in which a new roll is prepared, the roll of a parish shall be revised annually by or under the direction of the council. Notice of the intended revision in the form set out in section 2 of Appendix I to these rules shall be affixed by the minister or under his direction on or near the principal door of every church in the parish and every building in the parish licensed for public worship and remain so affixed for a period of not less than fourteen days before the commencement of the revision. The revision shall be completed not less than fifteen days or more than twenty-eight days before the annual parochial church meeting.

(2) Upon every revision all enrolments or removals from the roll which have been effected since the date of the last revision (or since the formation of the roll, if there has been no previous revision) shall be reviewed, and such further enrolments or removals from the rolls as may be required shall be effected.

(3) After the completion of the revision, a copy of the roll as revised shall, together with a list of the names removed from the roll since the last revision (or since the formation of the roll, if there has been no previous revision), be published by being exhibited continuously for not less than fourteen days before the annual parochial church meeting on or near the principal door of the parish church in such manner as the council shall appoint. During the period while the copy is so exhibited any errors and omissions in the roll may be corrected but subject thereto and to the provisions of rule 1(2) no names shall be added to or removed from the roll during the period in any year between the completion of the revision and the close of the annual parochial church meeting.

(4) Not less than two months before the annual parochial church meeting in the year 2007 and every succeeding sixth year notice in the form set out in section 3 of Appendix I to these rules shall be affixed by the minister or under his direction on or near the principal door of every church in the parish and every building in the parish licensed for public worship and remain so affixed for a period of not less than fourteen days. On the affixing of the notice a new roll shall be prepared.

At every service held on each of the two Sundays within the period of fourteen days beginning with the date of the affixing of the notice or, in the case of a church in which no service is held on either of those Sundays, at every service held in that church on the first Sunday after that date the person conducting the service shall inform the congregation of the preparation of the new roll.

(5) The parochial church council shall take reasonable steps to inform every person whose name is entered on the previous roll that a new roll is being prepared and that if he wishes to have his name entered on the new roll he must apply for enrolment. No such steps need be taken with respect to any person whose name could be removed from the previous roll under rule 1(9).

(6) The new roll shall be prepared by entering on it the names of persons entitled to entry under rule 1(2), and a fresh application shall be required from persons whose names were entered on the previous roll. A person whose name was so entered shall not be disqualified for entry on the new roll by reason only of his failure to comply with the conditions specified in rule 1(2)(b) and (c), if he was prevented from doing so by illness or other sufficient cause, and the circumstances shall be stated on the application form. The preparation of the new roll shall be completed not less than fifteen days or more than twenty-eight days before the annual parochial church meeting.

(7) After the completion of the new roll, a copy shall be published by being exhibited continuously for not less than fourteen days before the annual parochial church meeting on or near the principal door of the parish church in such manner as the council shall appoint. During the period while the copy is so exhibited any errors and omissions in the roll may be corrected but subject thereto and to the provisions of rule 1(2), no names may be added to or removed from the roll during the period in any year between the completion of the revision and the close of the annual parochial church meeting. On the publication of the new roll it shall come into effect and the previous roll shall cease to have effect.

(8) Upon the alteration of the boundaries of any parishes the parochial church council of the parish from which any area is transferred shall enquire from the persons resident in that area whose names are entered on the roll of the parish, whether they wish to have their names transferred to the roll of the other parish. The parochial church council shall remove the names of persons answering in the affirmative from its own roll and shall inform the parochial church council of the parish in which such persons now reside, which shall enter the names on its roll without any application for enrolment being required.

3. Procedural provisions relating to entry and removal of names

(1) When a person applying for enrolment on the roll of any parish signifies his desire that his name should be removed from the roll of any other parish, notice of that fact shall be sent by the parochial church council receiving that application to the parochial church council of that other parish.

(2) When the name of any person is removed from the roll of the parish owing to his having become resident in another parish, notice of that fact shall, wherever possible, be sent by the parochial church council of the first mentioned parish to the parochial church council of the last mentioned parish.

4. Certification of numbers on rolls

Not later than the 1st June the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary or church electoral roll officer of the parochial church council shall notify the secretary of the diocesan synod of the number of names on the roll of each parish as at the date of the annual meeting and a copy of such notification shall be affixed at or near to the principal door of every church in the parish and every building licensed for public worship in the parish when notification is sent to the secretary of the diocesan synod, and shall remain so affixed for a period of not less than fourteen days.

PART II
PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETINGS AND COUNCILS

Annual meetings

6. Annual meetings

(1) In every parish there shall be held not later than the 30th April in each year the annual parochial church meeting (hereafter in these rules referred to as "the annual meeting").

(2) All lay persons whose names are entered on the roll of the parish shall be entitled to attend the annual meeting and to take part in its proceedings, and no other lay person shall be so entitled.

(3) A clerk in Holy Orders shall be entitled to attend the annual meeting of the parish and to take part in its proceedings —

(a) if he is either beneficed in or licensed to the parish or any other parish in the area of the benefice to which the parish belongs;
(b) if he is resident in the parish and is not beneficed in or licensed to any other parish.
(c) if he is not resident in the parish and is not beneficed or licensed to any other parish, the parochial church council with the concurrence of the minister has declared him to be an habitual worshipper in the parish, the declaration being effective until the conclusion of the annual meeting in the year in which a new roll is prepared under rule 2 or his ceasing to be an habitual worshipper in the parish whichever is the earlier, but without prejudice to the renewal of such declaration; or
(d) if he is a co-opted member of the parochial church council in accordance with rule 14(1)(h).

(4) Without prejudice to paragraphs (2) and (3) of this rule —

(a) all the members of the team of a team ministry shall be entitled to attend, and take part in the proceedings of, the annual meeting of the parish or each of the parishes in the area of the benefice for which the team ministry is established, and where the area of a group ministry includes the area of a benefice for which a team ministry is established, all the vicars in that ministry shall be entitled to attend, and take part in the proceedings of, the annual meeting of each of the other parishes in the area for which the group ministry is established;
(b) all the incumbents and priests in charge in a group ministry shall be entitled to attend, and take part in the proceedings of, the annual meeting of each of the parishes in the area for which the group ministry is established.

(5) Where two or more benefices are held in plurality and a team ministry is, or is to be, established for the area of one of those benefices, then, if a pastoral scheme provides for extending the operation of the team ministry, so long as the plurality continues, to the area of any other benefice so held, paragraph (4) of this rule shall have effect as if the references to the area of the benefice were references to the combined area of the benefices concerned.

7. Convening of meeting

(1) The annual meeting shall be convened by the minister of the parish by a notice in the form set out in section 4 of Appendix I to these rules affixed on or near to the principal door of every church in the parish, and every building licensed for public worship in the parish, for a period including the last two Sundays before the day of the meeting.

(2) The annual meeting shall be held at such place on such date and at such hour as shall be directed by the previous annual meeting, or by the parochial church council (which may vary any direction given by a previous annual meeting) or in the absence of any such direction as shall be appointed by the minister.

(3) During the vacancy of the benefice or curacy or when the minister is absent or incapacitated by illness or any other cause, the vice-chairman of the parochial church council, or if there is no vice-chairman, or if he is unable or unwilling to act, the secretary or some other person appointed by that council shall have all the powers vested in the minister under this rule.

(4) The annual meeting shall be held at a place within the parish unless the parochial church council otherwise decide.

(5) The minister of a new parish created by a pastoral scheme, or, in the absence of the minister, a person appointed by the bishop, shall as soon as possible after the scheme comes into operation convene a special parochial church meeting, and subject to paragraph (6) of this rule, the provisions of these rules relating to the convening and conduct of the annual meeting shall apply to a special meeting convened under this paragraph.

(6) A special meeting so convened and held in the month of November or the month of December may, if the meeting so resolves, be for all purposes under these rules the annual meeting for the succeeding year, and a special meeting so convened shall in any event be for all purposes the annual meeting for the year in which it is so convened and held.

8. Chairman

(1) The minister, if present, or, if he is not present, the vice-chairman of the parochial church council, or, subject to paragraph (2) of this rule, if he also is not present, a chairman chosen by the annual meeting shall preside thereat.

(2) Where a parish is in the area of a benefice for which a team ministry is established, and a vicar in that ministry is entitled to preside at an annual meeting of that parish by virtue of a provision in a pastoral scheme or the bishop's licence assigning to the vicar the duties, or a share in the duties, of the chairmanship of the annual meeting of that parish, then, if both he and the vice-chairman of the parochial church council are not present at that meeting, but the rector in that ministry is present, the rector shall preside thereat.

(3) In the case of an equal division of votes, the chairman of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote, unless it is a case where rule 11(8) applies; but no clerical chairman shall have a vote in the election of the parochial representatives of the laity.

9. Business

(1) The annual meeting shall receive from the parochial church council and shall be free to discuss —

(a) a report on changes in the roll since the last annual parochial church meeting or, in a year in which a new roll is prepared, a report on the members entered on the new roll;
(b) an annual report of the proceedings of the parochial church council;
(c) an annual report on the financial affairs of the parish;
(d) the examined accounts of the parochial church council, including the accounts of all trusts administered by it, for the year ending on the 31st December immediately preceding the meeting;
(e) an examined statement of the funds and property, if any, remaining in the hands of the parochial church council at the said date;
(ea) the accounts and statements referred to in section 5B(4) of the Incumbents and Churchwardens (Trusts) Measure 1964;
(f) a report on the fabric, goods and ornaments of the church or churches of the parish under section 5 of the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991; and
(g) a report on the proceedings of the diocesan synod.

(2) The council shall cause a copy of the said roll to be available for inspection at the meeting.

(3) The council shall cause the examined accounts and statement referred to in paragraph (1)(d) and (e) to be published and a copy to be sent to the diocesan board of finance in accordance with section 8(3) of the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956.

(4) The annual meeting shall in the manner provided by rule 11 —

(a) elect in every third year parochial representatives of the laity to the diocesan synod;
(b) elect parochial representatives of the laity to the parochial church council;
(ba) elect parochial representatives of the laity to the mission council;
(c) appoint sidesmen;
(d) appoint the examiner of the accounts of the council, who shall not be a member of the council.

and the elections and appointments shall be carried out in the above order.

(6) Any person entitled to attend the annual meeting may ask any question about parochial church matters, or bring about a discussion of any matter of parochial or general church interest, by moving a general resolution or by moving to give any recommendation to the council in relation to its duties.

(7) The annual meeting shall have power to adjourn and to determine its own rules of procedure.

(8) The secretary of the parochial church council (or another person appointed by the meeting in his place) shall act as clerk of the annual meeting, and shall record the minutes thereof.

10. Qualifications of persons to be chosen or elected by annual meetings

(1) Subject to the provisions of rule 1(4) and paragraph (3) of this rule, the qualifications of a person to be elected a parochial representative of the laity to the parochial church council, the mission council or the diocesan synod are that —

(a) his name is entered on the roll of the parish and, unless he is under the age of eighteen years at the date of the election, has been so entered for at least the preceding period of six months; and
(b) he is an actual communicant as defined in rule 54(1); and
(c) he is of sixteen years or upwards.

(2) The qualification of a person to be appointed a sidesman is that his name is entered on the roll of the parish.

(3) No person shall be nominated for election under rule 9 —

(a) to serve on the parochial church council, the mission council or the diocesan synod unless he has signified his consent to serve, or there is in the opinion of the meeting sufficient evidence of his willingness to serve;
(b) to serve on the parochial church council, if he has been disqualified under rule 46A.
11. Conduct of elections at annual meetings

(1) This rule shall apply to all elections at annual meetings.

(2) All candidates for election at an annual meeting must be nominated and seconded by persons entitled to attend the annual meeting, and in the case of parochial representatives of the laity, by persons whose names are entered on the roll of the parish. A candidate shall be nominated or seconded either before the meeting in writing or at the meeting.

(3) If the number of candidates nominated is not greater than the number of seats to be filled, the candidates nominated shall forthwith be declared elected.

(4) If more candidates are nominated than there are seats to be filled, the election shall take place at the annual meeting.

(5) No clerk in Holy Orders shall be entitled to vote in the election of any parochial representatives of the laity.

(6) Each person entitled to vote shall have as many votes as there are seats to be filled but may not give more than one vote to any one candidate.

(7) Votes may be given —

(a) by show of hands, or
(b) if one or more persons object —
(i) on voting papers signed by the voter on the reverse thereof; or
(ii) if at least one tenth of the persons present and voting at the meeting so request, on numbered voting papers

(8) Where owing to an equality of votes an election is not decided the decision between the persons for whom the equal numbers of votes have been cast shall be taken by lot.

(8A) When an election or any stage of an election is recounted, either on appeal or at the request of the presiding officer or of a candidate, if the original re-count are identical at the point when a lot must be drawn to resolve a tie, the original lot shall be used to make the determination.

(9) The result of an election by an annual meeting shall be announced as soon as practicable by the person presiding over the election, and a notice of the result shall in every case be affixed on or near the principal door of every church in the parish and every building licensed for public worship in the parish, and shall bear the date on which the result is declared. The notice shall remain affixed for not less than fourteen days.

Thereafter the secretary of the parochial church council shall hold a list of the names and addresses of the members of the council which shall be available for inspection on reasonable notice being given by any person who either is resident in the parish or has his name on the electoral roll, but the secretary shall not be bound to provide a copy of such list.

(10) Names and addresses of parochial representatives of the laity elected to the diocesan synod shall be sent by the secretary of the parochial church council to the diocesan electoral registration officer appointed in accordance with rule 33 of these rules and to the secretary of the diocesan synod.

(10A) Names and addresses of parochial representatives of the laity elected to a mission council shall be sent by the secretary of the parochial church council to the secretary of the mission council.

(11) Where a vote is conducted in accordance with paragraph (7)(b)(ii) above, a record shall be made of the identity of each person to whom a numbered voting paper is issued and any such record, so long as it is retained, shall be kept separate from the voting papers.