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 relating to organists, entitled Parish Music: organists and choirmasters and church musicians, (*the Opinion”) is discussed below with regard to the music and the clergy. A further post will consider the employment law issues considered in this context. 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’”.

The Mail comments: Continue reading

Bishops sans frontières

On Sunday 14 May, the document Consecration of New Style Bishops – Q&A was handed out at Jesmond Parish Church. It explained the rationale behind the episcopal consecration of its curate, the Revd Jonathan Pryke and the perceived need for “New Style Bishops” operating within a non-diocesan remit. Although legal issues were not addressed in the document, it provides a framework within which these issues may be discussed and it also raises questions concerning the development of this initiative within GAFCON, GAFCON-UK and AMiE. Continue reading

Celebrity Marriages (and others)

New church guidance of relevance to all CofE weddings

In February this year, the General Synod Legal Advisory Commission issued new advice on a number of issues including that of “celebrity marriages” (“the Advice”). This particular document will be of assistance to not only the clergy responsible for the conduct of such events, but for those involved in their arrangement and those wishing to attend. Furthermore, since “celebrity” affords such individuals few additional concessions in the conduct of a church service, much of the advice is applicable to all weddings. Continue reading

Synod votes against bishops’ report

General Synod debate on Report from the House of Bishops

On 27 January, the Church of England published Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations: A Report from the House of Bishops, GS 2055 as a precursor to the “take note” debate at General Synod on the afternoon of Wednesday 15 February. The paper was not well-received in many Continue reading

Legislative Business – General Synod

Much of the business of yesterday’s General Synod concerned legislative issues, and Church of England Press Release is reproduced below. This forms a useful aide memoire on the current status of the many legislative developments in progress at the present time. The Press Release relating to the Revd Stephen Trott’s PMM on the preliminaries to marriage was posted yesterday. Continue reading