Ecclesiastical court judgments – June

Review of the ecclesiastical court judgments during June 2017

Of the ten consistory court judgments reviewed this month, four have involved requests for confirmatory faculties in cases where the Petitioner had disregarded the requirements of ecclesiastical law: Re St Nicholas Fundenhall where the Chancellor’s earlier unambiguous direction was not taken into consideration; Re St Andrew Buxton in which the PCC proceeded without reference to the consistory court; and two examples of clear infringement of Churchyard Regulations, Re New Lonan Churchyard and Re St Mary Roughton. Continue reading

Parish Music Guidance: Application

Does Canon B 20 reflect current patterns of music in the Church of England?

The new and updated Parish Music: organists and choirmasters and church musicians, (“the Opinion”) was added to the Church of England’s Document Library on 4 April 2017 together with legal advice on other issues. This was covered in our two-part analysis: Parish Music Guidance: Ministers and organists and Parish Music Guidance: employment issues, the latter prompting a comment on the relevance to churches where there is no organist or choir. Whilst it is clear that both Canon B 20 and the Opinion encompass organists and “all musicians in similar positions” [though clearly not “all musicians”], in practice their application to “church music groups” is not necessarily straightforward.  Continue reading

General Synod papers published

The Church of England has published the following Press Release with links to the first tranche of papers for the meeting of General Synod at the University of York from Friday July 7 to Monday July 10. On Friday, June 23, there will be the second circulation of papers and also be a pre-Synod briefing at Church House Westminster.  Continue reading

Parish Music Guidance: employment issues

Part II of our analysis of new CofE legal opinion on organists and parish music

An earlier post considered the Church of England’s updated legal advice Parish Music: organists and choirmasters and church musicians (*the Opinion”), focusing on the issues relating to organists (and “all musicians in similar positions”), music and the clergy. Here we comment the employment issues addressed in the document and consider in more detail the cases referred to in the Opinion: Sholl v PCC of St Michael’s with St James, Croydon, paragraph 12, and three German cases before the ECtHR – Obst, Schüth and Siebenhaar, paragraph 18. For completeness, additional material on of Ready-Mixed Concrete (South East) Ltd v Minister of Pensions and National Insurance and Neary v Dean of Westminster has also been included. Specific references to the canon law of the Church of England apart, much of the advice is relevant to other religious communities.

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Ecclesiastical court judgments – April and May 2017

Over the last two months, only nine new consistory court judgments have been reported. Although most of these relating to aspects of reordering, in Re Fairmile Cemetery Lower Assendon, the illegal practice of “coffin sliding” by the burial authority was brought to the attention of the Oxford consistory court. For completeness, we have also added outline details of an ECtHR case relating to churchyards, the judgment of which will be handed down early in June. In addition to links to our other posts relating to ecclesiastical law, this round-up includes summaries of cases in the following areas: Continue reading

Parish Music Guidance: Ministers and organists

Part I (of 2) of our analysis of new CofE legal opinion on organists and parish music

On 4 April 2017, new and updated legal advice on a number of issues was added to the Church of England’s Document Library. In view of its relevance at the time vis-à-vis the forthcoming wedding of Pippa Middleton, we first reviewed that relating to Celebrity Marriages shortly followed by a post on Royal Marriages, prompted by media speculation relating to Prince Harry. The document Parish Music: organists and choirmasters and church musicians, (*the Opinion”) concerns organists and “all musicians in similar positions” [though clearly not “all musicians”]. This is discussed below with regard to issues concerning the music and the clergy. A further post  considers the related employment law issues. Continue reading

Royal Marriages

On Thursday 18 May, the Church of England carried a link to a story in the Daily Mail which it summarized as:Further speculative report that Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle could have a royal wedding at Westminster Abbey, despite being a divorcee. [The article] quotes a Westminster Abbey spokesman: ‘The Abbey follows the General Synod Ruling of 2002. Since then it has been possible for divorced people to be married in the Church of England’”.

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