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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Reordering

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The proposal was to retain permanently a Hauptwerk digital organ (belonging to Wakefield Cathedral), which was introduced into the church under an Archdeacon’s Licence for temporary minor re-ordering. The church already had a faculty in place for the removal and disposal of the pipe organ, with the proviso of having a suitable replacement option. Although the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposal, the Chancellor granted a faculty: "I am satisfied that the petitioners have discharged the burden on them of displacing the presumption that the Harrison and Harrison organ should be replaced with a pipe-organ. I am satisfied that they have considered the merits and demerits of alternatives to their preferred Hauptwerk solution, particularly the relative costs, and that their proposal is in all the circumstances a reasonable one in terms of their wishes, needs and resources."

The Chancellor granted a faculty for the installation of a retractable screen to be placed over the chancel arch of the church, being satisfied that this would be preferable to the current arrangement of standing a portable screen on boxes at the front of the nave, and that the works were likely to bring benefits which outweighed the general presumption that change should not be permitted.

The church had a growing reputation as a safe place for LGBTQIA+ people of faith. The parish priest and an assistant churchwarden petitioned for the introduction of a new altar frontal, the design of  which took the form of a Progress Pride image with a white cross upon it. There were nine objections to the petition and sixteen letters and emails in support of it. None of the objectors were 'interested persons' within the meaning of Rule 10.1.(a)-(g) of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015. The Deputy Chancellor therefore had to decide, as a preliminary matter, under Rule 10.1.(h), whether any of the objectors had a sufficient interest in the subject matter of the petition. He determined that three of the objectors had a sufficient interest, namely, a regular attender at the church (who was not on the church electoral roll) and two priests, who raised liturgical and doctrinal issues in their objections. One of the two priests was a priest in the Diocese of Leicester, and the other was a member of the General Synod and of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.

This judgment is supplementary to the preliminary judgment in Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 1, when the Chancellor had to give directions as to which of the nine people who had objected to the petition had a sufficient interest in the subject-matter of the petition. The Chancellor had determined that three of the nine objectors had a sufficient interest. However, subsequent correspondence required the Chancellor to reconsider whether one of the three had a sufficient interest. He determined to give the person concerned a short period in which to provide further information before the Chancellor made a decision.

In his decision in Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 1, the Acting Chancellor concluded, as a preliminary issue, that three of the nine persons who submitted objections to the petition had a "sufficient interest". In this decision, the Acting Chancellor set aside his original order in so far as he now considered that one of those three objectors did not have a sufficient interest in the petition.

his judgment (which was preceded by three interim judgments with the neutral citations [2023] ECC Lei 1, [2023] ECC Lei 2 and [2023] ECC Lei 3, dealing with preliminary issues) relates to a petition for the introduction of a new altar frontal displaying the colours of the Progress Pride flag, the church having come to be regarded over time as a safe worshipping space for LGBTQIA+ people of faith. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: "The Progress Pride flag is not a Christian emblem ... it is a secular contemporary emblem used for many causes and contemporary discourse ... The focus, purpose and celebration of the Holy Communion is for all to come to Jesus and remember His sacrifice ... It is clear that there is not a unified belief that the proposed Altar frontal achieves this message of oneness in Christ".

The Parochial Church Council ("PCC") wished to carry out extensive repairs and reordering of the church, and the current petition dealt with the first phase. The only controversial items were the replacement of the Bosley pews with upholstered, metal-framed chairs and the laying of carpet in the church nave. The Chancellor was satisfied that a case had been made for the replacement of the pews with chairs - there was no church hall and the PCC wished to provide a more flexible space to meet the needs of a new community of 1200 houses to be built near the church. However, he had reservations about the proposed metal chairs and required the PCC to propose a type of wooden chair. The Chancellor approved the carpet on the basis that it would be a temporary measure until some more satisfactory hard flooring solution could be implemented, as part of the overall scheme.

The petition proposed a new, large moveable altar (to be placed at the junction of the chancel and the nave), an altar platform and new Communion rails, the removal of the mediaeval screen (to make way for the nave altar) and the removal of choir stalls and pews in the chancel, the moving of the pulpit and the removal of the lectern, and other items. Thirty-six parishioners objected to the removal of the mediaeval screen, which contained a complete set of paintings of the twelve Apostles. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the removal of the screen, but indicated that he would look favourably on a proposal to site the new altar in the nave, in front of the screen, albeit that might involve removing some pews. He granted a faculty for the other items.

The petitioners sought a faculty for the retention on a permanent basis of various works carried out under faculty, for a limited period, to reorder the church, including: reordering some pews at the west end; moving the organ;  a new heater; remodelling of the pulpit; altering the communion rail; removing the choir stalls; making the existing altar moveable; and reordering the vestry. The Chancellor determined that the works were necessary and appropriate and he granted a faculty.

The churchwardens petitioned for a faculty to authorise the removal of the existing cast iron radiators and pipework in the church, the introduction of six convector heaters, and the introduction of an insulated ceiling in the vestry. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposed insulated ceiling, stating that the vestry space was not a large one to heat; "the proposed ceiling would hide the timbers of the roof structure which, although not medieval, are substantial looking timbers with pegged joints"; and "the proposed ceiling may make the room feel 'claustrophobic' for those using it." The vestry was used by the parish priest as an office and the insulated ceiling had been proposed in order to prevent heat from the small heater being lost upwards to the high ceiling. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a case of need,  and that the work would not cause damage to the fabric and was reversible. He accordingly granted a faculty.