Archdeacon's Visitations

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Your Archdeacon, as the Bishop’s representative, must admit Church Wardens to their office every year. This happens at the annual Visitation service. Sidespeople don’t have to be admitted as they are appointed by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM), but in this diocese we admit them as well at the annual Visitation service, to affirm their important role.

Every year parishioners elect Churchwardens to represent them and to work with their parish priest in enabling Christian mission and ministry in their parish. At the Visitation service these churchwardens are sworn in as officers of the Diocesan Bishop.

A Charge is also given to the Churchwardens and all those present. The Charge is an opportunity for the Bishop, or Archdeacon, to reflect on the Churchwardens' answers to the Articles of Enquiry, and to encourage and thank the Churchwardens for all their work on behalf of the parishes they serve.

Churchwardens are essential to the good running of the churches and parishes of a diocese. Their office is an ancient one, developed during the middle ages. Churchwardens are responsible for working with their parish priest, representing the laity of the parish, and seeking to promote the gospel in the communities which they serve. Churchwardens also have some legal responsibilities for the property and fabric of the church building.
Who's expected to be there?
It's a Deanery event - one of the few opportunities for a Deanery celebration during the year. It lasts about an hour - any Wardens unable to attend their Deanery event to be admitted need to attend another Visitation service or a Reserve Court to be sworn in.

Each Deanery organises the Visitation service in cooperation with their Archdeacon, who will supply an order of service and the theme for their talk (sometimes called a 'charge'.
Visitation Papers
Before the Visitation, a pack of paperwork is sent to the vicar or wardens, which needs to be completed and handed to the Archdeacon after the service. You can also download many of the forms here:
The forms labelled Parish Specific are usually posted in mid-March with your parish information pre-completed for your convenience.  If you require another copy of one of these forms please contact Brenda Edwards:
Statistics for mission (membership and attendance) & church finances
The following notes will help you complete either of the Return of Parish Finance forms:
Return of Parish Finance - Accompanying Notes

Many churches wonder why we need to collect mission statistics and church finance information using the above forms each year. The following document, supplied by the National CoE Statistics Unit, explains the situation.
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