The RCB is pleased to make available a new Parish Handbook which aims to connect the foundations of our Church to today’s members and to make the role of service on a select vestry enjoyable and rewarding.
The Parish Handbook is a manual to support select vestries, parish officers and all members of the Church in the administration and organisation of parish life. It explains how requirements of the Constitution relate to today’s parishes, offers solutions to typical parish issues, and provides clear guidance to select vestry members on what is expected of them and tools to help them in their role. The last time the Church published a guide with a similar purpose was in 1982 so it is hoped that an update will be of value to today’s Church members.
The Handbook is currently available online, organised by topic and available on a new section of the main Church of Ireland website, called Parish Resources.
The guidance notes can be found under the relevant topic areas – e.g. Select Vestry, Parish Finance and Generous Giving at:
Welcoming the Handbook on the website, The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, remarked: “I believe that the new Parish Handbook is a superb resource, fulfilling a dual function of showing – in a very readable form – how the different components of the Church of Ireland’s structures mesh together, and also outlining clearly the duties and privileges that attach to all leadership in the local parish community.”
The Handbook will be a ‘living’ project; additions and amendments will be made to ensure the content continues to be relevant and useful. Digital content can easily be updated in line with changes in civil law, Church governance and best practice guidelines. All documents can be printed and select vestries and Church members are encouraged make use of them in their own parishes. The Parish Resources section of the website is a very new ‘work in progress’ and, just like the Handbook, will continue to be added to and updated to meet the needs of Church members.
Those with parish leadership responsibilities should be well–informed and feel confident in their governance roles. The Parish Handbook serves to support them as they uphold Christian values, act in accordance with the Constitution, and strengthen their parishes into the future. In today’s ever–changing society with increasing legislative pressure and compliance requirements, the Parish Handbook provides an effective way for every parish to be supported by the central Church.