Methodist ministers and “retirement” – sort of

Recently we have been picked up by a few Google searches for information on retirement of Methodist ministers. They no doubt drew a blank because it’s not a matter on which we’ve ever posted, so this is an attempt to rectify that omission.

In principle, Methodist ministers never retire: a minister who “sits down” in theimgres ministry ceases to have a pastoral charge but is nevertheless expected to continue to contribute to the ministry of the Church for as long as he or she is able. Standing Orders 790 (Application to become Supernumerary), 791 (Status and Stationing) 792 (Continuing Ministry) and 793 (Return to the Active Work) apply to the situation. Continue reading

Religion and law round-up – 28th September

A mixed bag of events: analysis of the Scottish referendum vote; strong interest in the seal of the confessional; and “really, really stupid” conduct in the Gloucester diocese

Scottish referendum vote

On Thursday we posted a summary of the material available on government sites relating to the Scottish referendum vote, and links to analyses on the UK Constitutional Law Association and the UCL Constitution Unit sites are included in “Quick Links” below. In the wake of the vote, however, a BBC/ICM poll [1] has shown that support for Welsh independence has fallen to its lowest recorded level: only 3% of those surveyed were in favour of Welsh independence, although support for increased power for the Welsh Assembly had risen to 49%.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

The 23 September announcement by Katherine Jefferts Schori that she will not stand for re-election as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States triggered reactions from sycophants and detractors alike. We are aware of the extensive and costly litigation that has accompanied her tenure of the post but on this side of the pond we are insufficiently close to events to tender any further comment. No doubt there will further analysis of her statement

“As bridges are built, more and more people can begin to cross the divides between us, and God’s dream begins to take flesh in a more just and peaceful world. Continue reading

Bath Abbey plagued by buskers

On 22 September, the Western Daily Press reported that “[w]orshippers at Bath Abbey had to abandon their choral evensong service last night – because the dulcet tones of the choirboys were being drowned out by the noise of buskers outside.” Neighbourhood noise is a potentially contentious area and is covered by number of environmental provisions [1], some of which are available to individual complainants although the Environmental Protection Officer is generally the first port of call. In this case, however, legislation brought in through the much maligned “ASBO Bill” may provide a more effective solution than the more traditional approaches based upon statutory- or common law nuisance. Continue reading

Scottish Referendum: What next?

The independence referendum in Scotland on 18 September 2014 returned a No vote by a margin of 55% to 45%. A substantial amount of official and other information has been generated in relation to the referendum on Scottish Independence: this post provides links to the material of the UK Parliament; reports of non-governmental analyses and reviews will be included in our weekly round-ups, as they become available. Continue reading

CofE to axe seal of confessional?

This weekend, The Mail on Sunday carried the headline “Vicars set to reveal secrets of confession: Church of England may axe 400-year-old sacred law to let clergy report sex attackers”.  Although the story is prompted by recent decisions by the Anglican Church in Australia, this particular piece of information has been in the public domain since July this year when the Revd Simon Cawdell of Hereford tabled the following Private Member’s Motion (PMM): Continue reading

Religion and law round up – 21st September

A week dominated by the Scottish independence referendum – but that was by no means everything… 

Scotland said “No”

The Scots looked over the edge of the cliff but decided not to jump. In what was generally regarded as a decisive result – 55% for “No” to 45% for “Yes” – the independence option was rejected in favour of “devo max”, even though that option was not on the ballot.

In the wake of the result, Alex Salmond announced his resignation as First Minister and Leader of the SNP. Which must be sad news whatever one’s view of the merits or otherwise of independence, simply because he’s head and shoulders above most of his Scots political contemporaries and he’d managed to get most of what he wanted out of the campaign – in fact, almost everything bar a “Yes” vote. However, the three Unionist parties already seem to be in a state of some disagreement as to precisely what they have promised Scotland by way of “devo max”: St Andrew’s Day promises to be interesting.

Assisting suicide still a crime

On Monday the Crown Prosecution Service announced that a woman called Milly Caller had been charged under s 2(1) Suicide Act 1961. Emma Crossman died on 15 January 2014 having taken her own life using equipment that had allegedly been bought for her by Ms Caller. Prosecutions under s 2(1) are rare; but the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

Chancel repair liability –  maybe not as dead as we thought

Also on Monday, Matthew Chinery of Winckworth Sherwood tweeted “Had a concerning thought at work today. Leaseholders buying post October 2013 might be at more risk than they think…”. Continue reading

Scotland says “No” – but…

So what a Scottish former student of mine referred to in an e-mail as “The Neverendum” is now history and we’ve learned what the Prime Minister described this morning as “the settled will of the Scottish people”: a “No” vote by 55.3% to 44.7%. For those of us watching the results live as they came in, possibly the tipping-point was when Angus – about as near to an SNP heartland as you can get since first electing Andrew Welsh in 1974 – voted “No” by 56.3% to 43.7%. After that, it was pretty clear that even if Glasgow voted “Yes” (which it did, by 53.5% to 46.5%), the final result was going to be an overall negative.

But far from being the end of the story, it may be that it’s simply the beginning of a new chapter in the saga of Anglo-Scots relations, with a plot-line that very few would have contemplated when the referendum process was first set in motion. Continue reading