PCC Page

The parochial church council (PCC) is the executive committee of Saint Mary Our Lady, Sidlesham. Legally the council is responsible for the financial affairs of St Mary's and the maintenance of its assets, such as the church and church hall, but the council also acts as a focus for church affairs in the parish.

PCCs were set by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1921 Act as a successor to the Vestry or Vestry Meetings, which had had their civil functions removed during the nineteenth century in numerous acts, concluding in 1894 with the establishment of civil parishes. The subsequent 1956 and 1969 Acts now govern the establishment and function of PCCs.

Members of St Mary's PCC are elected at the parish AGM. A list of the current members of St Mary's PCC can be found on the "Contact Us" page.

At St Mary's we have a PCC meeting approximately every three months and it is usually held in the church.


Chancel repair Liability (CRL)

CRL is a legally enforceable liability to contribute to the cost of repair of the chancel and is attached to the ownership of particular pieces of land because the land in question originally formed part of a rectory. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, a large amount of such property came into lay ownership and the relevant Acts of Parliament made it clear that the new owners of the land took over the obligation to repair the chancel of the parish church. The Chancel Repairs Act 1932 provided that in future CRL was to be enforceable in the county court and that the responsible authority for enforcing it is the PCC of the parish concerned. After 12th October 2013 the liability can only be claimed if it has been registered with Land Registry and that can be done at any time before the land is next sold.

At St Mary's the PCC's research found that there are 73 plots of land in the parish with CRL attached. We took advice and, given the very small area of St Mary's which constitutes the chancel, the large number of plots of land concerned and the comparatively small amount of liability attached to each plot, the cost of further research and the legal proceedings necessary would exceed the value of any likely claims. We concluded therefore that it did not make economic sense to continue the process to register the liabilities. We also felt that to pursue CRL would be damaging to the goodwill which is shown to St Mary's. As trustees we had to be sure that legally and in the eyes of our insurance company we would not be neglecting our duty in taking this decision. So we then sought the view of the Charity Commission who confirmed our feelings in responding that the Commission considers that the PCC's decision is reasonable in the circumstances being within the range of possible decisions that a reasonable body of trustees could have made. This can be taken as formal advice under section 110 of the Charities Act 2011.'

Thursday, 8 April 2021


The meeting of the PCC held on Thursday, 18 March 2021

at 7.30 p.m. by Zoom


With grateful thanks to Dr Lesley Bromley for facilitating this meeting.


Before the formal proceedings of the PCC meeting, Chris Field introduced the Archdeacon, Father Luke Capel-Irvine, who joined us to take us through the things we need to do during the vacancy, and the steps we need to take to find a priest to follow Father Stephen.

He began by saying that when a vacancy begins there is a feeling of anxiety at first, wondering about the future and what kind of priest will replace the current incumbent. He added there was naturally sadness at the departure of Father Stephen. He urged us not to be afraid and, most importantly, to pray for the parish and its people.

He listed the following tasks ahead of us:


Thank Father Stephen for his 12 years with us.

Sort out the practicalities of services, baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Write a Parish Profile

Select two Lay representatives to be involved in the interview process

Pray for the parish and its people.


In the absence of Father Stephen, Chris Field was elected as vice-chairman and the meeting began.


The annual report was discussed and accepted. Gary Hopkinson reported that despite the pandemic the finances had held up due to some generous donations and the regular giving by those taking part in the Parish Giving Scheme.


The Annual Parochial Church Council Meeting will take place on May 9th after the church service.


The pattern of services will be as follows:

1st Sunday Family Communion

2nd , 4th and 5th Sunday Parish Eucharist

3rd Sunday   Matins

All services will be at 10.00 am for the time being but there will be one 8 o’clock Eucharist on 3rd Sunday


 A discussion was held about what should be included in the Parish Profile and Chris Field explained that a questionnaire had been included in the Parishioner to seek views and opinions from the wider community.


It was not possible to hold our usual Fete this year, and various fund- raising ideas were put forward. Diana Ward has offered to have a sale in her garden, and Hilary Platts has said that she will do a Yorkshire Tea on 1st August in Janet’s garden. The regulations are still unclear at this stage but volunteers were invited to join an organizing working party.


In AOB the Deanery Synod reps reported that they had attended via Zoom and heard how churches in the deanery had coped with the pandemic. All churches had been active in their communities.

Finally, the safeguarding policy was agreed.