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Reordering

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The Chancellor granted a faculty for reordering within a 19th century proprietary chapel, which has only relatively recently become subject to faculty jurisdiction. The chapel was built to cater for the bargees and seamen who worked in or visited the dockland area of Gloucester. The works included a glass outer door; removal of pews; new lighting and heating; a kitchen unit/servery; a disabled toilet; and monitors and a sound system. Certain items were not approved.

The Deputy Chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty for the removal and disposal of seven pews, which were removed without faculty in 2011 in order to provide a children’s area, a display, a welcome area and the extension of the dais, but he required that the pew frontals removed at the same time were returned to the church.

There had been a scheme for reordering parts of the church, most of which had already been approved by the Chancellor. The only outstanding item was the proposed introduction of carpets in the nave. The Diocesan Advisory Committee was of the opinion that carpet was not appropriate for a Grade II* church, "being too domestic in appearance". Historic England (though it did not wish to be a party opponent) objected that the introduction of carpet would be harmful to the significance of the building. The Chancellor was however satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case for the introduction of carpet and did not feel that it would have the adverse impact claimed by Heritage England. He therefore granted a faculty.

A faculty was sought to allow the introduction into the Abbey of a diptych, one part of which portrays St. Ethelflaeda, one of the patron saints of the Abbey; the other part of the diptych depicts a candlestick. The Statement of Significance submitted by the Petitioners said that the painting was designed “to be challenging and controversial”, and to encourage “members of the congregation and visitors alike to contemplate the serenity of the abbess’s face and reflect on our own faith and spirituality”. There were 15 objectors, who did not become parties opponent. Objections included: the painting lacks artistic merit; it does not “enhance or beautify the Abbey in any way” and is “ugly”; “The ‘Saint’ is sinister and anatomically impossible and the candlestick, as often commented… looks like a giraffe neck”; the painting is not edifying/spiritually beneficial; it is “dark and disturbing”, “grotesque” ... and “raises nothing but horror”; it detracts from the architecture of the Abbey. The Chancellor decided to grant a faculty: "those who find the painting beautiful, helpful and spiritually uplifting can continue to benefit from its presence, and it can continue to play a part in the Abbey’s outreach and mission. Those who are disturbed or displeased by it need not dwell on its presence.  It seems to me that the Abbey is a large enough space, physically and spiritually, to accommodate both camps."

Faculty granted for the removal of a pew platform and four pews from the west end of the church, the Chancellor being satisfied that there were "compelling justifications on the basis of liturgical freedom, pastoral well-being and putting the church to other viable uses consistent with its sacred character."

Appeal allowed against the refusal by the Chancellor of the Diocese to grant a Faculty to authorise the relocation of the chancel screen.

The judgment relates to two faculty petitions, both relating to re-ordering. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the removal of the chancel screen. The judgment contains a detailed discussion of the theological and doctrinal arguments put forward at the hearing.

Faculty granted for re-ordering, including the creation of a complex of buildings for youth related activities, and removal and disposal of pews from the south aisle.

The petitioners wished, amongst other proposals for re-ordering, to remove the choir stalls from the chancel and level the floor, and also remove the Victorian chancel screen, in order to make the church more adaptable for worship, concerts and other uses. The Victorian Society objected to the removal of the chancel screen. Faculty granted.

An appeal by the Victorian Society against the decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Rochester to allow the removal from the church of a Victorian eight bay screen by Bodley & Garner and its reinstallation in a church in Leicestershire, which would necessitate the reduction of the screen by two bays. Appeal dismissed.