Hereford Diocesan Registry

Duties during an Vacancy in the benefice

During an interregnum, Churchwardens automatically become the sequestrators of the Benefice along with the Rural 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 helpful publications for Churchwardens to help them through this time:

  • An extremely helpful article written for The English Clergy Association, available here.

The Local Ministry Officer should be contacted early on. Further information is found on the 'Local Mission and Ministry' pages of the Diocesan website.