Tuesday, 22 August 2017 14:20

Cathedral and Church Buildings Division Designation of different categories of churches

Parish churches and chapels of ease - These churches provide a traditional model of ministry and are comfortable doing so, which may include innovative complementary uses as set out in Part 3, with care for the building fabric possibly passed to Trusts where appropriate. Creating chapels-of-ease within larger parishes may remove the need for multiple PCCs.

Festival Churches – References have recently been made in the Church Buildings Review and elsewhere to ‘Festival Churches’. Under Canons B 11 (Of Morning and Evening Prayer in parish churches) and the first part of B 14 (Of Holy Communion in parish churches), each parish church is required to celebrate Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Holy Communion on every Sunday (and on feast days). Canon B 14A (Of services in churches and other places of worship) empowers the Bishop to dispense with this requirement. 

The Bishop, in doing so, must “ensure that no such church ceases altogether to be used for public worship”. Forthcoming changes to Canon B 14A mean that this can be expanded to a large number of churches, allowing them to have more freedom in organising services and other uses for the building as laid out in Part 3 as needed in that parish.  

Mission Churches - These are churches which are identified as having potential for growth and possible expansion beyond their parish, which may need to be supported or learned from. Some of these may be designated as Resource Churches, which have a special role which may go beyond the diocesan boundaries

Major / Greater Churches - Members of the Greater Churches Network and the broader group of Major Churches recently identified by the CBC may require a higher level of attention due to their special functions, significance and potential. The CBC has recommended that all churches in this group should as a minimum compile Conservation Management Plans, with which the CBC can usually help.  See ChurchCare for information on CMPs and the criteria for Major Churches.

If a church is not on the present CBC list, an application can be made to the CBC who will assess it against the criteria. If the church makes the list the CBC offers to visit the church and discuss possible ways forward.

Minsters - Although not clearly defined legally, the status of Minster can be conferred by the Bishop to allow a church building to adopt an extra- or super-parochial role beyond that of a parish church. This can be adapted to circumstances but should always be carefully considered within an overall diocesan mission plan.

New Churches - The population of the diocese is increasing and new homes are planned in existing towns and villages across the diocese. There may be occasions where a new church building should be considered.

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