Diocese of Portsmouth

Chrism Eucharist at Portsmouth Cathedral


The roles and responsibilities of a churchwarden are wide and varied, as befitting an office that dates back to the 13th century, and churchwardens duties vary considerably according to local custom, tradition and the needs of particular parishes. These local variations evolve over time and it is important that each churchwarden is clear about what is expected and what is realistic. That being said, there is a framework expressed in statute and canon law which churchwardens should understand.

Churchwardens are officers of the bishop and their loyalty is to him, whilst at the same time remembering that they are chosen by the people of the parish, so their responsibility is to the parish as a whole, not just to the church congregation. These duties are covered in greater detail in the books recommended on the attached reading list, but some of these duties are summarised here.

Resources for Churchwardens

Documents and Links

Churchwardens News

An occasional email sent out to all Churchwardens in our diocese. Contact Kara Weston if you’re not receiving the email, so that our database can be updated.

Previous emails

Guidance from the Food Standards Agency

There are a number of factors which are taken into consideration when determining if a church should be treated as a ‘food business’. These include (but are not restricted to) the size of the event, frequency and the type of food being provided. Whether the food is paid for or free to consumers is not one of the factors taken into consideration.

The law requires those registered as a food business (which can include churches and charities) to provide allergen information to consumers.

If your church is not registered as a food business and you are unsure if it should be, please click here to contact your local environmental health team who will be able to advise you.

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