2018 Conference reports – Churches & Pastoral Committee

The committee (CPC) continues to fulfil its pastoral role as well as considering capital expenditure programmes by discussing application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and application for Representative Body Church Repair Grants. The CPC also administers the Quinquennial Inspection Programme with the assistance of the Diocesan Office. The CPC looks at all matters in the light of the Diocesan Strategy for Growth.

A number of parishes in the Diocese have requested closure of some of the churches within their benefices and the processes are ongoing. It was noticeable that the number of churches requesting closure seems to have levelled off after a steady increase in previous years.

Closure means that a church ceases to hold services but that the PCC is still responsible for the building; whilst redundancy means that the building ceases to be used for divine worship and becomes the responsibility of the Representative Body.

There has often been a long gap between the two and PCCs and incumbents are reminded that there are legal preliminaries that must be completed before redundancy can be declared, for which they have certain responsibilities.

In 2015 the decision was taken by the CPC in agreement with the Representative Body to merge the dates of closure and redundancy in order to ensure that the preliminaries are carried out prior to the closure date and in order to avoid long delays between the two stages.

A document looking at church building viability is now issued to all PCCs when a building is being considered for closure.

Ven Paul Mackness has now been appointed as Chairman to the Churches and Pastoral Committee. The new secretary is Mrs Janet Every who has been appointed as Care of Churches Officer and the CPC Secretary now falls into the remit of her role.