Tag Archives: Anglican Church

Homeowners face huge bills for repair to churches under ancient laws – regardless of their religion

Letters sent to 12,000 homeowners informing them they are liable for upkeep
Could see them helping with average bill of £80,000 if urgent work required
Experts have warned that the legal responsibility could slash home values

PUBLISHED: 01:07, 30 December 2013
Thousands of homeowners face the threat of crippling bills to repair local churches under an ancient law which applies regardless of their religion, it has emerged.
Letters have been sent to more than 12,000 people informing them that they are liable to contribute towards the upkeep of a nearby Anglican church under rules which date back to the reign of Henry VIII but are rarely enforced today.
The bombshell warning – which could see them helping to foot an average bill of £80,000 if urgent work is required – is the result of Government attempts to tidy up the law on what is known as ‘chancel repair liabilities’.
Thousands of homeowners face the threat of crippling bills to repair local churches under an ancient law which applies regardless of their religion, it has emerged

Even if repairs are not needed, experts have warned that the legal responsibility could slash home values and potentially cause house sales to fall through.
Currently, many property owners are unaware that they are responsible for contributing towards the upkeep of the chancel – the area around the altar – of their parish church because they are classed as ‘lay rectors’.
While home owners who are aware their property is liable can take out special insurance to cover an unexpected bill, most are oblivious as it is not mentioned in their deeds.
The rule – which dates back to the dissolution of the monasteries almost 500 years ago – was highlighted by the case of Andrew and Gail Wallbank who inherited a farm in Warwickshire.


They were ordered to pay over £100,000 towards repairs to Aston Cantlow church, and following a lengthy legal battle which ended in 2008 were left with no choice but to sell the property.
After parochial church councils (PCCs) were told their members risked being made legally responsible if they didn’t identify who was liable, churches were given ten years to inform everyone who could potentially be ordered to cough up.
Now, following a Freedom of Information application, it has emerged that 247 churches have so far registered 12,276 homes or plots of land as being liable.
Letters informing the owners have been sent out by the Land Registry, which manages the list, the Sunday Times reported yesterday.
However as many as 5,000 parish churches have yet to register their rights, meaning the final total could be significantly higher.
Letters have been sent to more than 12,000 people informing them that they are liable to contribute towards the upkeep of a nearby Anglican church under rules which date back to the reign of Henry VIII but are rarely enforced today
Letters have been sent to more than 12,000 people informing them that they are liable to contribute towards the upkeep of a nearby Anglican church under rules which date back to the reign of Henry VIII but are rarely enforced today
In some cases, the paper reported, large numbers of properties have been registered – St Cuthbert’s Church in Lytham, Lancashire, has registered 5,725 addresses, while St Andrew’s Church in Gorleston-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, has registered 854.
While the right could only be exercised if the chancel was in urgent need of repairs, recipients of the letters have suffered shock and upheaval.
Website designer Tim Acheson, a Catholic, said the liability towards repairs to grade I listed St Mary the Virgin in his home village of Braughing, Hertfordshire, hadn’t come up during conveyancing when he bought the property in 2009.
‘It means that the value of your home can be written off at any time and it is handing the church the power to make people bankrupt overnight,’ he told the paper.
Writer Miranda Seymour, whose biographies include a book on Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, was told her home, Thrumpton Hall in Nottinghamshire, had been registered by nearby All Saints Church.

‘I am vehemently opposing it,’ she said.

Experts warned that the cost of obtaining chancel liability insurance was likely to rise for those included on the list and that some property owners had paid their local PCC up to £500,000 to buy out their liability.
A spokesman for the Church of England said the Land Registry had advised that PCCs had a duty to consider who was responsible for the upkeep of their chancel.
‘A parochial church council can decide not to enforce chancel repair liability,’ he said.
‘It can take into account the possibility of excessive hardship that might be caused to those liable if the obligation were enforced or the damage that enforcing it could do to the mission of the church in the parish.
‘But the decision is one for the individual PCC.’

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Change and Decay



The Anglican and Catholic Churches have finally realised they must change to survive. But is it too late?

The problem is not adults leaving the church: it is their children never going at all

Have the Christian churches got it at last? Have they understood that it will soon be too late to halt the slow yet relentless decline they have experienced in this country, and on the continent of Europe, for many years? Yes, they are, finally, beginning to face up to reality. For example, the new Pope, Francis, has just published a truly remarkable document, “Evangelii Gaudium” or “The Joy of the Gospel”, in which he asks the Catholic Church to embark upon a fresh chapter of evangelization, and where he describes in great detail how this should be done. And more quietly, but no less insistently, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is engaged in the same task.

Just a word, first, about where one should direct one’s gaze. It is natural to bracket the Pope and the Archbishop together, but so great are the structural differences between the two Churches that this can mislead. In the Roman Catholic Church, everything flows down from the top, whereas in the Church of England authority is widely dispersed. So Popes issue lengthy documents, often of a high quality, in this case an “apostolic exhortation”, and set a new direction. Whereas in the Church of England, archbishops, bishops and the clergy just get on with things. To see what this means in practice, listen to Bishop Stephen Cottrell addressing the Chelmsford Diocesan synod last month. His speech, “Evangelizing Effectively: the next steps”, cannot match the breadth, nor the wonderful biblical language of Pope Francis’s exhortation, but it is directed at the same purpose in a very effective and practical manner.

The Pope first looks with an unforgiving eye at the barriers to missionary ministry that the Church itself erects. In his exhortation, Pope Francis says “I do not want a Church… which… ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.” Surprisingly, he rails at the “excessive centralisation” which, rather than proving helpful, “complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach”. He warns that “mere administration can no longer be enough”. Pope Francis despairs of “the gray pragmatism of the daily life of the Church, in which all appears to proceed normally, while in reality faith is wearing down and degenerating into small‑mindedness”.

He calls this “A tomb psychology”, which slowly transforms Christians into “mummies in a museum”. And in a thrust that could as well be aimed at the Church of England as well as at the Church of Rome, he notes that in some people we see “an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time. In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few.” Ouch!

Instead the Pope dreams of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world. Because he casts care for self-preservation aside, he also emphasises the need to act without “hesitation, reluctance or fear”.

In a passage that will please Anglicans, “Evangelii Gaudium” has high praise for the humble parish, with its church-building, its vicar and its committed lay-people working locally. While certainly not the only institution that evangelizes, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant flexibility, “it continues to be the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters”.

But with regard to missionary endeavour, there is a key difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England. The Pope’s message is a call to make a fresh start, whereas for the Church of England, a renewed focus on evangelization is a work in progress that was begun about 10 years ago. The English initiative proceeds along two parallel routes. The object is to establish either what are called “fresh expressions” of church or to “plant” new churches.

These new congregations are different in ethos and style from the local church that set them up, because they aim to reach a different group of people. They are created primarily for the benefit of those who are not churchgoers. They may take place in cafes, at home, in a church building that has been re-opened after closure, during the week rather than on Sundays; and sometimes they are led by pioneer priests or by trained youth workers. And this is working. Some three quarters of those who participate had either given up attending church or had never been before.

So re-evangelization is easy if you know what to do? Not at all. It is extremely, dauntingly difficult. The crux of the matter is this. The problem is not adults leaving the church; it is their children not following their example. In short, if the Churches cannot recruit young adults, their decline will go on. But the problem is now understood, it has been measured and complacency has evaporated. In other words, a start has been made.


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Church ‘out of step’ on new law – from the New Zealand Herald

By James Ihaka  Saturday Aug 24, 2013

Reverend Glynn Cardy of St Matthew-in-the-City. Photo / NZ Herald
Reverend Glynn Cardy of St Matthew-in-the-City. Photo / NZ Herald


An outspoken Auckland vicar says the Anglican Church is in danger of becoming a moral dinosaur and is increasingly seen as irrelevant with the passing of the Gay Marriage Bill.

Reverend Glynn Cardy said that with the passing of the law, the state had moved well ahead of the church.

The colourful and often controversial vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City, who will today speak at a conference addressing the issue at a Remuera church, said Anglicanism was unable to adapt and change and is increasingly seen as irrelevant in public ethical debates and to the spirituality of younger generations.

His comments come a week after the Weekend Herald revealed that the head of the Presbyterian Church asked its ministers to consider a temporary ban on gay marriages to preserve the church’s “peace and unity” as the same-sex marriage law came into effect.

The vicar said his comments were in relation to the church’s position on gay and lesbian people getting married or ordained when they have partners.

“It’s really about when the church gets out of step with society and society loses confidence in the church as having a strong moral compass.

“I think the church for many years has been seen as a model that tries to promote good values in society and I think the church has done that well in times in pointing our different issues of justice and promoting honesty and kindness,” he said.

“I think that society and science have said that gay people should be treated like anyone else and if the church continues to discriminate the confidence society has in it will diminish.”

He said the church could be left behind “as a relic” and needed to change to have society’s confidence as a moral body to be listened to.

The vicar has made an application to become a minister with the Presbyterian Church.

He said St Matthews had been a leader in fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, dating back to 1974 when they hosted the country’s first congregation explicitly for gay and lesbian Christians.

Anglican Church spokesman Lloyd Ashton said he didn’t want to comment because Reverend Cardy “says what he says” and he didn’t want to engage with it.

Ray Coster, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, said: “By upholding the historic Christian understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman, we are being faithful to what we understand Christ is calling us to as a church.”

Glynn Cardy is speaking at the Sea of Faith conference at Somervell Presbyterian Church, at 497 Remuera Rd in Auckland, today from 9am to 4pm.

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August 24, 2013 · 12:08