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.