Being a Churchwarden
Churchwardens perform a vital function and ministry in the working life of a chaplaincy.
They are officers of the bishop and are therefore primarily accountable to the bishop, rather than to their chaplain. They also represent the voice of the laity.
The role might vary depending on location but typically involves management, maintenance and mission. Churchwardens are particularly significant in our diocese where geography means clergy are more isolated and more dependent on the support of lay officers.
The legal status of churchwardens varies from country to country within our diocese to fit with local legislation. But the rules which govern their status fit with the canons of the Church of England.
It is important for churchwardens to be aware of the local laws under which the chaplaincy operates, for example, the chaplaincy might have the status of ‘voluntary or charitable association’. Churchwardens use their own knowledge and experience of national and regional laws and customs to advise and support their chaplain.
In the Diocese in Europe churchwardens are elected by people named on the chaplaincy electoral roll who are present at the annual meeting unless the chaplaincy has agreed to postal voting. They assume office immediately after the meeting, having made the required declaration.
You can read more about the history and role of churchwardens in the Diocesan Handbook.