Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs Written Evidence


Evidence submitted by Peter O'Connell, member, Parochial Church Council

  I am a member of the Church of England and a member of my local Parochial Church Council although I write in a private capacity.

  I understand that the Constitutional Affairs Committee will be considering the Lord Chancellor's historic role as an ecclesiastical patron on 29 January 2004.

  I believe that these powers are outdated and would recommend that they be transferred to the church. I do not believe it is appropriate for members of the Government to retain control of individual parishes any more than it would be appropriate for the Church to control the nomination of candidates for House of Commons.

  The complex patchwork of rights can only reduce the ability of dioceses to reorganise parochial structures. Any move to team ministry can only be achieved by increasing the flexibility of dioceses to respond to the changing needs of their congregations. Persuading individual congregations to accept change can be difficult enough without the additional burden of persuading patrons to also accept change.

  I would therefore support these powers reverting to the relevant diocesan board of patronage in most cases although I accept there may be individual rights that should be transferred to a more appropriate individual or body within the Church.

Peter O'Connell

23 December 2003





 
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