Your Church in Interregnum

Practical Responsibilities

The Archdeacon will initiate guidance and support as soon as a vacancy is announced. The parish has three particular duties during a vacancy:

  1. When a benefice is vacant, Churchwardens and the Area Dean are sequestrators. This means they are responsible for sending DBF fees to Church House. They can meet certain expenses from these.
  2. To look after the parsonage house, ensuring its safety and security. The Property Secretary will visit in the early stages and discuss this with you. Details are in a leaflet, ‘Parsonage House Guidance Notes on Vacancies’.
  3. To arrange clergy and others to take services, including baptisms, weddings and funerals. The Area Dean will give advice and support on this. Retired clergy claim their fees and travelling expenses from the Diocesan Board of Finance; others should be paid travelling expenses only, which can be charged to the sequestration account. [Guidelines for Communion by Extension and Home Communion]

Churchwardens should:

  • work with the PCC to keep an overview of arrangements for pastoral care (including contact arrangements for enquiries about baptisms, weddings) during the vacancy.
  • Liaise with PCC Lay Chair, Secretary, Treasurer to ensure PCC meetings, APCM, payment of Parish Share etc continue as normal
  • Make sure registers are maintained properly

Filling the Vacancy

The Archdeacon will guide the parish through the process in four stages:

New Vacancy

The Archdeacon will make contact/meet with church officers, and visit the PCC to explain the process and advise on the preparation of a Parish Profile. The PCC elects representatives at a ‘section 11 Meeting’ or equivalent; sometimes, but not always, churchwardens are chosen.


Churchwardens may be asked to ‘host’ informal visits of prospective applicants, with the Area Dean


Churchwardens may meet candidates, but are only on the interview panel if elected a Parish Representative.


Churchwardens attend the Property Secretary’s visit to the Parsonage House with candidate and Archdeacon, giving local advice where needed. They should liaise with new priest about moving arrangements, encourage welcome by parishioners. Take part in the Licensing Service, including words of welcome to the new priest (and family).

The Church of England Diocese of Manchester,
Church House, 
90 Deansgate, 
Manchester M3 2GH

Manchester DBF Company number 149999, Charity number 249424
Telephone: 0161 828 1400