Appointment of Parish Priests

The Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986 and The Patronage (Benefices) Rules 2007 set out the procedure to be followed for selecting a new incumbent when a benefice becomes vacant.

Under the provisions of the Mission and Measure 2011, the Bishop has the power to suspend the patron’s right of presentation to the vacant benefice, in order to allow plans for pastoral reorganisation to be considered or implemented. In such a case the Bishop may wish to appoint a priest-in-charge. Although a priest-in-charge is legally different from an incumbent, their respective responsibilities in the parish are the same, and parishioners will be unlikely to know that there is a difference. Moreover the procedures for appointment are very similar.

The following forms are prescribed by the Patronage (Benefices) Rules 1987 for use by Patrons and Parochial Church Councils in connection with the appointment of an incumbent (but not in the case of the appointment of a priest-in-charge). Click on a form below to display the form. The forms are in PDF (Acrobat) format. If you need to download the Acrobat Reader in order to view them, click here

  • Form 15 – Patron’s Declaration (an individual)/Appointment of Representative
    A patron who wishes to exercise his right of presentation must make a declaration that he is a communicant member of the Church of England. In such case the patron should complete Part A of Form 15. If the patron is unable to make the declaration, or wishes someone else (who can make the declaration of membership of the Church of England) to act on the patron’s behalf, then the patron should ask the patron’s representative to complete the declaration in Part B of Form 15.
  • Form 16 – Appointment of Representative by Patron (not an individual)
    Where a right of presentation is not vested in an individual, for example, where it is vested in a charity or a university college, Form 16 should be used instead of Form 15. The form states who has been nominated to represent the body concerned, and the representative makes the declaration of membership of the Church of England.
  • Form 34 – Appointment of Parish Representatives
    This form records the resolutions passed at the special meeting of the PCC(s) which must be called following a Notice of Vacancy in Form 31 sent by the Designated Officer. It will also record any previous passing by a PCC of Resolutions A or B under the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993. Where there is more than one parish in a benefice, each PCC Secretary should complete Form 34 for his or her own parish, even though there has been a joint meeting, so as to record the name of the representative(s) for that parish and any Resolution A or B previously passed by the PCC concerned. Also, each PCC may attach to its own Form 34 its own parish statement, where a joint meeting has decided not to have one statement for the whole benefice.
  • Form 35 – Bishop or Patron’s Request for Section 12 Meeting
    Within 10 days of receiving the Form 34 and parish statement, the Bishop or the patron may use this form to give notice to the PCC(s) that they wish to have a joint meeting to discuss the contents of the statement. The meeting must be held within six weeks, and the PCC Secretary or Secretaries must give at least 14 days notice of the meeting to all entitled to attend, unless all agree to the meeting being held at shorter Notice.
  • Form 36 – Approval by Bishop of Offer of Benefice
    When a priest is willing to accept an offer to fill the vacancy, the patron must seek the Bishop’s approval of the making of the offer by completing the first part of the form and then sending it to the Bishop for his approval or otherwise to be endorsed on the form.
  • Form 37 – Approval by Parish Representatives of Offer of Benefice
    When a priest is willing to accept an offer to fill the vacancy, the patron must seek the approval of the parish representatives to the making of the offer by completing the first part of the form and then sending it to the Bishop for his approval or otherwise to be endorsed on the form.
  • Form 38 – Patron’s Notice of Presentation
    When the patron has received both the Bishop’s approval and the parish representatives’ approval, the patron should complete Form 38 and send it to the Bishop, who will then make arrangements for the institution of the new incumbent.