During an interregnum, Churchwardens automatically become the sequestrators of the Benefice along with the Area Dean. Sequestration is simply an ecclesiastical term for being trustee of the income of the benefice which will primarily be marriage, baptism and burial fees that are paid during the vacancy. In addition the Churchwardens are required to:
- ensure that services are maintained in the parish church and that the costs of visiting clergy are paid;
- that the pastoral needs of the parishioners are looked after;
- the vicarage and any other property of the benefice is looked after.
In practice the Churchwardens will be helped by the PCC, but the primary responsibility is theirs during a vacancy.
There are a number of very helpful publications for Churchwardens to help them through this time. Initially, Churchwardens should look at the Diocesan handbook which can be found on the Diocesan website.
The following available publications may also assist:
- So the Vicar’s leaving – The Good Interregnum Guide by Mike Alexander and Jeremy Martineau.
- An extremely helpful article written for The English Clergy Association, available here.