Parish Pastoral Council

St Mary Magdalen RC Church, Willesden Green
Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines

Established: 21 April 2016


The Parish Pastoral Council exists as a consultative body to help the clergy consider pastoral and other works and to propose and co-ordinate practical measures for implementing them.

This stems from: “Christ’s faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the pastors of the Church” (Canon 212#2) and, “They have the right…the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.” (Canon 212#3).

The Parish Pastoral Council: investigates pastoral matters, reflects on them, and reaches practical conclusions that are recommended to the parish priest. Some examples of topics the Parish Pastoral Council have dealt with are organising parish pilgrimages to Rome, Walsingham and Stonor, and holding a party for all the parish volunteers. All these events were wonderful.

The Parish Pastoral Council does not have jurisdiction over liturgical matters (Canon 528#2). The parish priest has the final decision over all matters the Parish Pastoral Council considers (Canon 536#2).


The Parish Pastoral Council comprises: the parish priest and other parish clergy, the chair of the Parish Finance and Premises Committee, the safeguarding representatives, 3 members nominated by the Parish priest, and seven parish pastoral councillors

The parish pastoral councillors are elected thus:

  • Via the parish newsletter, the parish priest invites people put forward their names if they wish to serve as a parish pastoral councillor. Details of required term etc. to be outlined in newsletter.
  • If more names are received than there are places, parish priest to organise a vote for parishioners to indicate via ballot which councillor/s they wish to elect
  • Successful councillor/s announced in parish newsletter
  • In the absence of sufficient nominations, the parish priest reserves the right to select parishioners to join the Parish Pastoral Council.
  • It is desirable that the members should, where possible, be reflective of the wider parish and any request for nominations will always encourage applications from a wide and diverse range of parishioners.

The parish pastoral councillors are elected for a term of three years to run from 21 April 2016.  Thereafter all terms are for 3 years.

A councillor can serve for two terms (a total of a possible 6 years), after which time they will need to step down for a period of one term (minimum 3 years). The exception to this is if there are insufficient parishioners to fulfil Parish Pastoral Council roles, in which case the parish priest can allow somebody to serve for three or more consecutive terms. It is hoped that some or all of the initial councillors will serve more than one term, to ensure consistency.


The Parish Pastoral Council chairperson is to be nominated on 21 April 2016 and thereafter at the Annual Parish Pastoral Council Meeting – to take place once annually from April 2017. The chairperson can serve from 1 to 6 years or more than 6 years in exceptional circumstances that require somebody to serve as a councillor for three or more consecutive terms.

Resignations and Requests to Leave the Parish Pastoral Council

If a councillor wishes to resign from the Parish Pastoral Council, or a councillor wishes to resign as chairperson, this must be done in writing to the parish priest with as much notice as possible.

In the event of a councillor resigning, the parish priest will invite applications for a replacement councillor from the parish via the parish newsletter.

In the event of the chairperson resigning their role, a new chairperson should be elected by the remaining councillors at the next appropriate Parish Pastoral Council meeting.

Should a councillor act in a manner unbecoming to their position, the parish priest can remove said member from the council or the parish priest and fellow councillors reserve the right to hold a vote on whether said councillor should be removed from the Parish Pastoral Council. In the event of a tied decision, the parish priest has the casting vote.

Agenda Items and Voting

Items for the Parish Pastoral Council meeting agenda are to be submitted to Clergy House or to a member of the Parish Pastoral Council at least one week in advance of Parish Pastoral Council meetings, the dates of which will be published in the parish newsletter. Items will be raised at the next appropriate Parish Pastoral Council meeting. Parish pastoral councillors can each add items to the agenda, either in advance or during the AOB section of the meeting.

Each agenda item will be discussed by the Parish Pastoral Council and a way forward agreed by an informal vote (show of hands). The parish priest has the casting vote in the event of a tied decision and in any instance where it is necessary to prioritise the activities or ideas that will be progressed.

Meeting Dates

Parish Pastoral Council meetings are to take place four times a year, with the subsequent date to be agreed at the end of each meeting and published in the minutes.

Meeting Minutes

The Parish Pastoral Council chairperson will record minutes from each meeting in the form of concise action points and points of note.
These will be made available on this website as soon as possible after the Meeting.

Minutes of Nov 2016
Minutes of Sep 2016
Minutes of July 2016
Minutes of April 2016

Mins February 2017

Mins May 2017

Mins September 2017

Meeting Format/ Agenda

The meeting format/agenda will be along the format of:

  • Opening Prayer
  • Update on previous meeting’s minutes and update on actions
  • Discussion of new items
  • AOB discussion
  • Closing prayer


It is the chairperson’s responsibility to:

  • Agree the next Parish Pastoral Council meeting date
  • Advise the parish office of this date for the newsletter/ to alert parishioners to submit any agenda items or any items decided and deadlines for this
  • To circulate meeting minutes for approval after each meeting and then post these on the church noticeboard and website
  • Circulate an agenda to the Parish Pastoral Council members in advance of each meeting

Other Responsibilities

It is assumed that, with the exception of matters clearly falling to the Finance and Premises Committee, Parish Pastoral Councillors will agree between themselves who will take responsibility for progressing items/ideas – with the parish priest having the final decision in the event it is necessary.