The Parish

Joining in

Parish, Parochial and Pounds

Upper Hardres is a parish church. A parish is the geographical area committed to the care of an incumbent (vicar or priest) by the Bishop. So everyone in England lives in a parish, whether they go to the parish church or not.

The term parish derives from the Anglo-Saxon parochium, the missionary territory of a Minster, a religious community, usually established on the estate of a nobleman.

In the case of Upper Hardres it was probably the Hardres family who were either early Norman settlers or a Saxon family who retained their positon after the Norman Conquest.

                                                                                The Hardres coat of arms

Many monuments to the family, of whom the last, Sir William died in 1791, are in the church. These include wall monuments and brasses.

The Local Government Act of 1894 established (civil) parish councils of elected members in rural areas where the population exceeded 300. Boundary changes over the years mean that the civil parish council boundaries - in our case Upper Hardres Parish Council - and the ecclesiastical (church) parish boundaries, may be different.

Parochial Church Council

Each parish church has churchwardens who look after the running of the church and a Parochial Church Council or PCC. Members are elected at the Annual Parochial Church meeting. To be eligible to vote you must be on the church Electoral Roll. This is a roll of persons of sixteen years of age upwards who are baptised members of the Church of England. Upper Hardres PCC meets every six to eight weeks.

The PCC works with and supports the parish priest in all the activities of the church, looks after the church building and its contents, manages the church's finances and is the means of communication with the Deanery, the Diocese and the wider church. Upper Hardres church is part of the Deanery of Stour Valley and the Diocese of Canterbury.

A each year's annual parochial church council meeting, the PCC reports on the past 12 months activities and how the church is being run.

The PCC conducted a review of this mission in 2019 to ensure our current work, worship and aims for future development are underpinned by our mission statement and that the work of the church looks to turn our words into reality.

You can read the 2019 Mission Review here.

Parish Finances

The main sources of income are from the regular contributions of parishioners through Sunday offerings, regular payments under standing order, the Gift Aid scheme (where the church is able to claim back income tax on donations) and other gifts or donations. Other income is generated through fundraising and church fetes.

From this income the church has to meet all running costs, including building maintenance, heat, light and insurance. The church also pays a 'parish share' which is Upper Hardres contribution to clergy costs (housing, wages and pensions), diocesan and national church expenses.

As Christians we do not forget our responsibility to help others. A proportion of all income generated by Upper Hardres is devoted to outward giving. We look to meet an annual target of 10%.