Use of church buildings: update of “toolkit”

A date for the diary and a web page to watch

The Communications Director of the Hereford Diocese, Catherine Cashmore, has issued the Press Release New guide to developing a place of worship for community use on 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

Limits on preaching in a prison chapel: Trayhorn

Background

In Trayhorn v The Secretary of State for Justice (Religion or Belief Discrimination) [2017] 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

Closure of the HLF Grants for Places of Worship – Update

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

Church leaders’ statement in advance of the General Election

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

Banns of marriage – their development and future

Introduction

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

Law and religion round-up – 10th July

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.

Methodist Church to reconsider position on marriage Continue reading

Roof Repair Fund 2016 – grants announced

Some light relief from Brexit, and welcome news for hundreds of churches

On 6 July, the successful applicants to the second round of the Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund were announced. A total of 401 places of worship in the UK received between £10,000 to £100,000 to meet the costs of urgent repairs to roofs and rainwater disposal systems. Money is also being provided for structural investigations; specialist reports and bat surveys. Lyford Church, IMG_6389(2)The Fund is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) on behalf of the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS); the first round awards were covered in our post last year. This year’s list of successful applicants includes an award of £62,400 for the church of St Mary, Lyford, Oxfordshire, which is in the Benefice of Cherbury with Gainfield. Continue reading