It is your parish church’s register of electors. In the same way that being on the civic Electoral Roll allows you to vote in parliamentary and local elections and referenda, joining the Church Electoral Roll means that you can vote on Church matters, attend the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and stand for election to the PCC.
Being on the Electoral Roll does NOT make you a “member” of the Church; simply regarding The octagon Parish and its churches as your spiritual home does that.
You can, of course, be a full and active member of The Octagon Parish and its churches without joining the Roll. Being on the Electoral Roll does not entail signing up to any additional commitments, however, it does help our Churches show their strength. Representation on the governing bodies of The Octagon depends on the number on the Electoral Roll.
Joining the Roll is compulsory if you wish to:
Stand for election to the PCC or other synodical council (such as the Deanery, Diocesan or General Synod)
The maximum number of PCC lay members. If the Roll is not representative this means that the PCC is too small for the workload involved, putting heavy strain on the members. Representation on the governing bodies of the Church (PCC, Westbourne Deanery Synod, Chichester Diocesan and General Synod).
The Church of England is governed by a synodical system which joins with the Bishops to make decisions. Being on the Electoral Roll is the entry point and Christians share an individual responsibility to be part of the “Body of Christ” and to participate fully in our part of His Church. This system is intended to enable church people at every level to be in touch with the Church as a whole and to play their part in decision making. Also, the system is intended to ensure that the laity have their place in every aspect of church life, including doctrine and services.
The Electoral Roll does NOT have a direct bearing in the way the Parish Share is assessed – it is based on estimated membership and socio-economic factors.
To apply for the Electoral Roll you must meet ALL the following conditions:
You must be aged 16 or over (though you can apply in the year you become 16 and your name will be entered once your birth date has passed).
You must be baptised.
You must be a member of the Church of England and EITHER live in the parish OR have attended a church in the parish regularly for at least 6 months.
The phrase “member of the Church of England” requires further explanation:
– Member of the Church of England
– Member of a Church in communion with the Church of England. The only Churches at present in communion with the Church of England are other Anglican Churches (excepting the so-called Anglican continuing Churches in North America) and some other foreign churches.
– Member of a Church not in communion with the Church of England but which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; you must be prepared to also declare yourself a member of the Church of England. This category includes other Protestant denominations such as Moravian, Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist, as well as Roman Catholic, URC, Russian/Greek Orthodox etc.
– If you are a parish resident you do not have to actually attend the Church of which you consider yourself a member; but if you live outside the parish, the 6 months’ regular attendance at a church inside the parish is a requirement. If you know your postcode you can find out if you are resident in the parish by using this online tool.
Members of the Octagon electoral roll can also choose to align themselves with a specific church in The Octagon Parish
You can be on the Electoral Roll of more than one parish, but you can only serve on the PCC of one parish at a time.
If you are not resident in the parish but were a habitual worshipper in the parish, and have been prevented by sickness or absence or other essential reason from worshipping for the past six months, you may write ‘would’ before ‘have habitually attended’ on the form and add ‘but was prevented from doing so because’ and then state the reason. If this is the case you can still use the online application form but add the reason for non-attendance as a note.
In these notes, ‘parish’ means ecclesiastical parish.
Joining the electoral roll is an important way of confirming your commitment to The Octagon Church community and to the vision of the church. But it also opens up the way for greater involvement in the life of the Church of England, at Deanery, Diocesan and national levels. By joining, you become entitled to participate in the government of the church and to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, where the elections take place for:
the parochial church council
the parish’s representatives on the deanery synod.
Any person entitled to attend the APCM may raise any question of parochial or general church interest.
In addition, those who live outside the Parish but are on the Electoral Roll enjoy all the rights and privileges that go with being resident in the village (for example, baptisms and weddings). However, if you live outside the Parish and want to come onto the Electoral Roll, you have to have been worshipping at The Churches of the Octagon Parish for a minimum period of six months.
Numbers are important in the present climate in which the Church of England needs to be aware of the commitment of its people. Church morale is affected by statistics and while it would be wrong to inflate the significance of the Roll it would be a missed opportunity to ignore it.
Joining the roll is an important statement of witness and a step along the path of discipleship. With your name on the electoral roll, the strength of the Church can be seen in our local area, and across the Diocese. If you’re a regular at the churches of The Octagon, you should be on the electoral roll!
Application forms can be downloaded here or obtained from the Church Office. Fill in your full name and address, and tick the appropriate boxes (see the explanation above, or ask a member of staff). It would assist us greatly if you would also complete the optional ‘Contact Details’ section for our records, particularly email addresses and contact preferences.
Please note that only names will appear on the published Roll. Please deliver the completed forms to the Church Office at the Vicarage in Compton or return by email to email@example.com
Just contact the Octagon Parish Office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02392 631252. However, in the years when a full revision is required (next one: 2025) you must submit a new application to be included on the new Roll regardless of whether you were on the previous roll or not.
The Octagon Parish is made up of eight villages with churches: Stansted, Racton, Stoughton, East Marden, North Marden, Up Marden, Compton and Forestside and two villages without churches: West Marden and Walderton. Blessed with wonderful walks and fine views down to the south coast, its small ancient downland churches are noted for their spiritual peace and tranquillity, some dating back to Saxon times. There are two stately homes in the area: Stansted House and Uppark.