Churches to get more flexibility on services

Published on: 27th February 2019


The Church of England’s General Synod has approved measures to make it easier to reduce the number of services in a multi-parish benefice.

Once approved by parliament the new legislation will mean that Morning and Evening Prayer will not need to be held in each church, and Holy Communion will not need to take place in each church every week.

Under the new legislation, the same services only need to take place in a single church within a benefice, at the same regularity.

This normalises the already widespread practice of services moving from church to church within a benefice on consecutive days and weeks.

Such arrangements had previously required special dispensation from a bishop, which will no longer be required.

Archdeacon of Hereford, the Ven. Derek Chedzey said: “The good news about this change is that it allows churches to be much more flexible in their provision and intergenerational worship.

“We welcome this realistic step which allows benefices to work together more effectively as teams of churches and reduces the pressure on clergy to travel between several churches each Sunday.”

The average number of churches per benefice in Hereford Diocese is seven with some larger groups including up to 14 churches.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “Sunday worship continues to be central to the Church of England’s ministry, but this change is designed to make life easier for multi-church benefices.”

“Larger benefices are a reality, particularly in rural areas, and this legislation allows schedules to be set within a local context, alongside other forms of worship not covered by this legislation.”

“Morning and Evening prayer continue to be the heartbeat of church life, and whether urban or rural, communities are prayed for on a daily basis.”


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