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Reordering

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The proposals included: the replacement of the church pews with chairs; alteration of the dais in the chancel; the baptistry; new heating, lighting and and audio-visual system; redecoration; the building of an extension for offices; and a garden area. English Heritage, the Victorian Society and the Church Buildings Council all had concerns Chancellor determined that the extension was acceptable, and that the pews were of little merit and could be replaced. As regards the font, the Chancellor was satisfied that the batistry was effectively redundant and that the case for moving the font was made. He therefore granted a faculty. The judgment contains an extensive review of the law and practice relating to fonts.

A judgment dealing with a matter outstanding from Re Holy Trinity Wandsworth [2012], namely, the repositioning of the font and the baptistry screen. Re Duffield discussed. Faculty granted.

A faculty was sought for the following in the unlisted church which was built in 1969-1970: replacement of the existing twenty pews with one hundred and twenty Alpha SB2M chairs and four stacking trollies; a data projector to the front archway; an overhead retractable screen to the wall above the reredos; a lighting bar and stage lights to the front archway; replacement of the existing sound desk housing with a larger housing to accommodate additional equipment. Two parishioners wrote a letter of objection, but did not become parties opponent. They claimed that there had been insufficient consultation in the parish and that the audio-visual equipment had already been installed. The Chancellor was satisfied that there had been adequate consultation and that the petitioners had made out a good case for the works. As for part of the works being completed already, the Chancellor accepted the explanation and apology given by the petitioners. A faculty was granted in respect of all the works.



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.

By 2015 the condition and use of the early 20th century church had declined to such an extent that the building was temporarily closed for health and safety reasons and the congregation dispersed to other churches. In 2017 a new congregation was formed and worshipped in the church hall, but before long it became apparent that more space was needed. Steps were taken under various faculties to revive the church and make it safe for worship. The current petition sought authority for the removal of a number of items of furnishing, as a precursor to reordering in a way that would meet the needs of the new congregation. The Chancellor agreed to the removal of the majority of items in the petition (including the high altar and the font), but he excluded the removal of the lectern, the Communion rails and the pulpit (with the associated memorial plaque).

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.