IN A brief take-note debate on Monday, before the final drafting
and approval stage of the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical
Jurisdiction (Amendment) Measure, the Dean of the
Arches, the Rt Worshipful Charles George QC (ex officio),
explained that there would be two "very minor, though necessary,
amendments" to be introduced as special amendments.
Timothy Allen (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
welcomed the Measure, which would, he said, help churchwardens, who
were "overstretched". But he said it didn't go far enough. He was
concerned that the "lawyer-dominated Rule Committee", responsible
for drawing up the secondary legislation to implement the changes,
"will be so legalistic and cautious that there will be little
lightening of the load".
Chancellor George disagreed, describing the Measure as a "major
The first amendment was necessary because "the Measure is not
sufficiently clear" that grazing of churchyards by livestock
without the need of a faculty was to be allowed.
The Revd Simon Cawdell (Hereford) welcomed the
move, suggesting that the use of sheep to graze churchyards put
Hereford "at the forefront of churchyard technology".
The second special amendment was to enable the Court of Arches
to hear appeals in cases where the original petition and hearing
involved "doctrine, ritual, or ceremonial" issues; if the appeal
itself "solely relates to other matters".
Currently, such appeals were heard by the Court of
Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved, which had last sat 25 years ago.
The amendment "does not seek to alter the existing divisions of
functions, but solely clarifies . . . which appeal court has
jurisdiction to hear the appeal", Chancellor George said.
Both amendments were carried by the Synod on a simple show of
Canon Simon Butler (Southwark) thanked the
Simplification Group "for all their hard work", but asked questions
about its implementation. He said that faculty jurisdiction "wasn't
implemented properly" in the diocese of Gloucester, leading to
additional work for parishes and archdeacons.
The Measure was given final approval: Bishops: 17 in favour,
none against, no abstentions; Clergy: 102 in favour, none against,
one abstention; Laity: 101 in favour, none against, no