Brexit (inevitably), school dress codes, clergy employment, humanist marriage, religious karaoke – another mixed bag…
On Monday, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was given its second reading: Ayes, 326: Noes: 290. The Bill stands committed to a Committee of the whole House for eight days of detailed debate.
The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government both declined to recommend that legislative consent be given to the Bill by their legislatures unless it is amended to address their specific concerns.
Primary school uniform
Also on Monday, we reported the case of a husband and wife who had withdrawn their six-year-old son from his Church of England primary school after a boy in his class was allowed to wear a dress to school. Continue reading →
The Communications Director of the Hereford Diocese, Catherine Cashmore, has issued the Press Release New guide to developing a place of worship for community useon an updated version of the snappily titled ‘Crossing the Threshold: a step by step guide to developing your place of worship for wider community use and managing successful building projects’, which is being undertaken in partnership with the Diocese of Hereford. Continue reading →
In Trayhorn v The Secretary of State for Justice (Religion or Belief Discrimination) UKEAT 0304/16/0108, Mr Trayhorn was a gardener/horticulturalist at HM Prison Littlehey, which houses a large number of sex offenders and young offenders. He has also been an ordained Pentecostal minister since 2009. At a Pentecostal service in the prison chapel on 31 May 2014, he spoke to a congregation of prisoners about homosexuality as sinful, quoting from 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11.
There had been a previous complaint by the LGBT coordinator in February 2014 about Mr Trayhorn’s comments during a service on 8 February 2014. Continue reading →
Recent update from Historic Religious Buildings Alliance (HRBA)
Mid-March 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) confirmed in that the Grants for Places of Worship (GPOW) scheme would be closing. The HRBA provides regular updates through its monthly email newsletter, which it correctly describes as “an amazing mine of information“. Extracts from the July issue are reproduced below. Continue reading →
Leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have issued the following statement in advance of the General Election:
“As we prepare for the General Election, we recognise that Christians across our nations will prayerfully vote for a variety of parties and candidates in good conscience. We celebrate the fact that Christian people are inspired by their faith to debate passionately – and to disagree well – on how the United Kingdom should be governed at this present moment. Continue reading →
The legal requirement to read banns for couples intending to marry in church services was considered by members of the Church of England General Synod on 14 February 2017. Though Synod rejected moves that sought to end this “ecclesiastical preliminary” to marriage, important arguments were cited both for their retention and for their removal. In this post, we summarize the development and current usage in England and Wales, Scotland and the two jurisdictions in Ireland, and examine possible future directions. Continue reading →
So it’s Theresa May vs Andrea Leadsom and Sir John Chilcot finally published the report of the Iraq Inquiry: meanwhile…
URC votes to solemnise same-sex marriage
Yesterday, Saturday 9 July, the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church voted to allow its local churches to conduct and register marriages for same-sex couples. A two-thirds majority was needed to confirm the proposal and the Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, by 240 votes to 21. United Reformed churches in England and Wales wishing to register their buildings for the marriage of same-sex couples will be able to start that process immediately. (In Scotland the legal framework is rather different but the effects of the Church’s decision will be broadly similar.)
The General Assembly has considered the proposal twice before: in 2014 and in a special, single-issue Assembly in June 2015. The 2015 Assembly ruled that the decision on whether or not an individual URC congregation could host marriages of same-sex couples lay wholly with each local church; and that policy was confirmed yesterday.