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Organist on PCC


Guest Roffensis
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Guest Roffensis

Is it true that a paid Organist in the Anglican Church cannot be on the PCC? :blink: I was told that as a employee of the church, I cannot! In one way I'm glad! :lol:

 

R

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In Brighton currently two churches have organists who are also churchwardens and another church has an organist who is also the treasurer. Others are on PCCs and I have, in years gone by, been on a PCC and a Deanery Synod as a paid church organist. It has been quite common over many years in Brighton and Hove for paid organists to be churchwarden as well, and many others have been - and are - on PCCs as ordinary members. Obviously, it is prudent that they leave the meeting when the organist's salary or anything similar is being reviewed. I'm not sure how they find the time, frankly!

 

At one church the Vicar insisted that I be elected on to the PCC. I disagreed with virtually everything he said at meetings (it was at the time he was installing a nave altar &c.,) and was never asked to stand again! I would add that since then - over 30 years ago - we have become very good friends.

 

Far worse than being on a PCC is being on a Worship Committee. Never in my life have I wasted so much time listening to people talking utter rubbish about matters of which they have no knowledge or expertise whatsoever than at Worship Committee meetings.

 

Malcolm

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Far worse than being on a PCC is being on a Worship Committee. Never in my life have I wasted so much time listening to people talking utter rubbish about matters of which they have no knowledge or expertise whatsoever than at Worship Committee meetings.

 

Malcolm

 

 

I totally agree, Malcolm. The equal is the "Liturgy Group" in the Catholic church which employ an organist/DOM and then tell him what to do, and how to do it. After thirteen years of that crap, I resigned and will never take up a full-time church position again.

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Far worse than being on a PCC is being on a Worship Committee. Never in my life have I wasted so much time listening to people talking utter rubbish about matters of which they have no knowledge or expertise whatsoever than at Worship Committee meetings.

 

Malcolm

 

 

I totally agree, Malcolm. The equal is the "Liturgy Group" in the Catholic church which employ an organist/DOM and then tell him what to do, and how to do it. After thirteen years of that crap, I resigned and will never take up a full-time church position again. I now freelance and don't have to go to pointless liturgy meetings. I play what's put in front of me, get paid, and clear off; and if I don't fancy playing on a particular Sunday I just say so.

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I was standing for election to the PCC last year and told shortly before the meeting that I could not be an 'employee' and elected to the PCC. There was a place on the Deanery Synod so I stood for and was elected to that and therefore by right have a place on the PCC. It was either that or not be employed and receive a good old fashioned honorarium.

 

F-W

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I was standing for election to the PCC last year and told shortly before the meeting that I could not be an 'employee' and elected to the PCC. There was a place on the Deanery Synod so I stood for and was elected to that and therefore by right have a place on the PCC. It was either that or not be employed and receive a good old fashioned honorarium.

 

F-W

 

Hi

 

SInce churches are regarded as de facto charities (and shortly will have to be registered as charities), then the charity commisioners should be able to answer the question.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Is it true that a paid Organist in the Anglican Church cannot be on the PCC? :blink: I was told that as a employee of the church, I cannot! In one way I'm glad! :lol:

 

R

 

Hello Roffensis,

 

Are you in a position to say who told you this, and on what authority he/she did so?

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Guest Roffensis
Hello Roffensis,

 

Are you in a position to say who told you this, and on what authority he/she did so?

 

Hello :D

 

My Vicar confirmed what a Churchwarden told me basically. I do accept what I was told. We all get on very well indeed and I knew it was not personal.

 

 

R

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Is it true that a paid Organist in the Anglican Church cannot be on the PCC? :D I was told that as a employee of the church, I cannot! In one way I'm glad! :lol:

 

R

 

It certainly isn't out of the question for the same person to combine the roles of trustee and employee of a charity. Indeed, this page on the Charity Commission website gives some guidance about the situation.

 

The situation is very confused, of course. If the organist can't be a member of the PCC because he profits from being the organist then surely, by the same token, nor can the vicar!

 

An alternative view is that neither the vicar nor the organist is employed by the PCC, (the vicar is employed by the Bishop, or possibly by God, and the organist is employed by the vicar) and thus they are both unquestionably eligible to be trustees.

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My understanding is the only pre-requisite for being elected to the PCC is being on the electoral roll. In my last post I was an employee, but it was also my place of worship and I was on the electoral roll, so by precluding me from standing for the PCC, it would have actual gone against any rights I had as a member of the congregation.

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My understanding is the only pre-requisite for being elected to the PCC is being on the electoral roll. In my last post I was an employee, but it was also my place of worship and I was on the electoral roll, so by precluding me from standing for the PCC, it would have actual gone against any rights I had as a member of the congregation.

My understanding is that it used to be considered unwise for the organist to be on the PCC. It is not illegal, though - I was on the PCC of my last church.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I suspect that in reality different parishes invent or impose their own rules locally.

 

Malcolm

 

Perish the thought! :D

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In one case I was the paid organist and choirmaster, wasn't on the PCC but did chair the worship committee.

 

In another case I was on the PCC (and actually ending up becoming Treasurer), I was on the worship committee - and was paid for neither.

 

The primary purpose of_church_music must be the service and worship of God. Therefore at least to me, it seems perfectly reasonable as an organist who is a committed Christian to want to participate fully in the worshipping life of the church, including actively participaring in, as opposed to tolerating through clenched teeth, any so-called "worship committee". Without wishing to open too many cans of worms, I can understand how an organist who does not share the faith of the church that they play in but who has a love of fine choral music might have reservations about the direction some worship committees might be heading, but I also think there is some truth in the maxim "tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living". Put another way, if the musical quality being peddled by the worship committee is so bad, why did someone think it important to have a worship committee to begin with, and what are its objectives? What have we to fear from engaging with them?

 

Contrabombarde

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Guest Roffensis
In one case I was the paid organist and choirmaster, wasn't on the PCC but did chair the worship committee.

 

In another case I was on the PCC (and actually ending up becoming Treasurer), I was on the worship committee - and was paid for neither.

 

The primary purpose of_church_music must be the service and worship of God. Therefore at least to me, it seems perfectly reasonable as an organist who is a committed Christian to want to participate fully in the worshipping life of the church, including actively participaring in, as opposed to tolerating through clenched teeth, any so-called "worship committee". Without wishing to open too many cans of worms, I can understand how an organist who does not share the faith of the church that they play in but who has a love of fine choral music might have reservations about the direction some worship committees might be heading, but I also think there is some truth in the maxim "tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living". Put another way, if the musical quality being peddled by the worship committee is so bad, why did someone think it important to have a worship committee to begin with, and what are its objectives? What have we to fear from engaging with them?

 

Contrabombarde

 

Well we have no worship committee but our Vicar is leaving soon, and of course the music is not the charge of the PCC, not even in between Vicars. The Vicar holds that charge together with the Organist. That we all know. Where no Vicar I gather the "office" of Vicar remains in charge, and in an ideal world the lot is sorted out before a Vicar leaves. Certainly no changes can be made while without one, and the PCC therefore form a rather obsolete body until a Vicar is appointed. :D

 

R

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This is all so depressing but it does support my belief that I was absolutely right to give up regular work, employed by one church, almost a year again now. I occasionally play at local churches on Sundays as a freelance and that is fine as long as I don't get asked too often. (I often turn down requests for me to play on Sundays.) I just turn up, do as I'm asked, get paid and come away again, no admin or hassle with the church apart from getting the Vicar and/or, more often, the regular organist to decide and tell me in advance what is going to happen and in what order.

 

It also enables me to choose where I shall worship in the congregation and when I shall do so. It enables to worship at the kind of church where I feel most comfortable. By preference I go to said services where one does not have to listen to appalling musical standards but around here, on Sundays these have almost completely disappeared. To repeat what I wrote on another site recently, music and religion are, and always have been, major priorities in my life but increasingly I accept what I have always quietly known, that the two are incompatible.

 

Crematorium work is a different matter; you are aware that you are exercising a sensitive ministry to people at a difficult time in their lives and that can be very rewarding. Mourners often take trouble afterwards to tell you how much they have appreciated your playing.

 

Malcolm

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I've done a little research around this subject and whilst I don't claim to have any legal authority in such matters it is clear that PCC's now come under Charities Commission rules and as such an employee can also be a trustee. Consequently an employed organist (and they should all be anyway under tax laws unless unpaid of course, heaven forbid! - strong biblical precedent here too) is perfectly allowed to be an elected member of a PCC, the two are neither incompatible nor inappropriate. Personally, having been on a number of PCC's, both as organist and without said post, I have no desire for the politics that most PCC's tend to embrace! However, if the choice were to sit on the PCC as a co-opted member or stand for election, I would opt for the latter every time, but that's the democrat in me!

 

Jonathan

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It might be interesting to know whether they are, in fact, legally capable of doing so. Johnathan Lane's point is a powerful one.

 

Again, without legal training, but with some understanding of Canon law, I believe any imposition of rules that were considered unlawful would put said PCC in a difficult position and at the least open to investigation for irregular practices. Knowing the Church of England pretty well, I suspect what doesn't get found out doesn't get followed up, but secular authorties now have some power here through the Charities Commission.

 

What is more worrying however, is why would a PCC not want their organist present at its meetings?

 

Jonathan

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For what it's worth, my contract states that I am entitled to attend four parish council meetings per year or at other times where issues may require my presence or input. However, some years ago, I was once encouraged to stand for a parish council election. But it was the vicar who almost immediately discouraged me - but with what seemed a good reason. He believed I had more 'power' (!) by not being on parish council. His reasoning was that if a musical issue arose and parish council went against what I wanted, or believed was a good outcome for the music, then as a member of parish council I would have to accept the "vote". But by not being on parish council, I could continue to cause a fuss, write letters, get further support etc etc to make parish reconsider or even overturn a decison that was not musically helpful.

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For what it's worth, my contract states that I am entitled to attend four parish council meetings per year or at other times where issues may require my presence or input. However, some years ago, I was once encouraged to stand for a parish council election. But it was the vicar who almost immediately discouraged me - but with what seemed a good reason. He believed I had more 'power' (!) by not being on parish council. His reasoning was that if a musical issue arose and parish council went against what I wanted, or believed was a good outcome for the music, then as a member of parish council I would have to accept the "vote". But by not being on parish council, I could continue to cause a fuss, write letters, get further support etc etc to make parish reconsider or even overturn a decison that was not musically helpful.

 

I'm not sure there is a benefit either way. In my last post I was an ex-officio member of the PCC anyway with voting rights, but stood for election anyway. I have never been afraid to vote against something and if I did so I would have no qualms about continuing to lobby against a perceived bad decision, although of course all things are subjective! I would always have a lot of scepticism for anyone who advised against standing for a PCC, either the vicar had some reason for not wanting you there or didn't agree with the way the PCC were thinking, in either case there must have been some ultirior motive!

 

Jonathan

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