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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022



The Chancellor granted a faculty for reordering within a 19th century proprietary chapel, which has only relatively recently become subject to faculty jurisdiction. The chapel was built to cater for the bargees and seamen who worked in or visited the dockland area of Gloucester. The works included a glass outer door; removal of pews; new lighting and heating; a kitchen unit/servery; a disabled toilet; and monitors and a sound system. Certain items were not approved.

By 2015 the condition and use of the early 20th century church had declined to such an extent that the building was temporarily closed for health and safety reasons and the congregation dispersed to other churches. In 2017 a new congregation was formed and worshipped in the church hall, but before long it became apparent that more space was needed. Steps were taken under various faculties to revive the church and make it safe for worship. The current petition sought authority for the removal of a number of items of furnishing, as a precursor to reordering in a way that would meet the needs of the new congregation. The Chancellor agreed to the removal of the majority of items in the petition (including the high altar and the font), but he excluded the removal of the lectern, the Communion rails and the pulpit (with the associated memorial plaque).

The Deputy Chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty for the removal and disposal of seven pews, which were removed without faculty in 2011 in order to provide a children’s area, a display, a welcome area and the extension of the dais, but he required that the pew frontals removed at the same time were returned to the church.

Reordering proposals included: new toilet and kitchen facilities and multi-functional space; replacement of the pews with Howe 40/4 chairs; a new floor with underfloor heating; a mezzanine floor and roof-lights; the creation of a columbarium; a new doorway;  and the screening of external storage areas. The Vicar General & Chancellor granted a faculty.

There had been a scheme for reordering parts of the church, most of which had already been approved by the Chancellor. The only outstanding item was the proposed introduction of carpets in the nave. The Diocesan Advisory Committee was of the opinion that carpet was not appropriate for a Grade II* church, "being too domestic in appearance". Historic England (though it did not wish to be a party opponent) objected that the introduction of carpet would be harmful to the significance of the building. The Chancellor was however satisfied that the petitioners had made out a good case for the introduction of carpet and did not feel that it would have the adverse impact claimed by Heritage England. He therefore granted a faculty.

A faculty was sought to allow the introduction into the Abbey of a diptych, one part of which portrays St. Ethelflaeda, one of the patron saints of the Abbey; the other part of the diptych depicts a candlestick. The Statement of Significance submitted by the Petitioners said that the painting was designed “to be challenging and controversial”, and to encourage “members of the congregation and visitors alike to contemplate the serenity of the abbess’s face and reflect on our own faith and spirituality”. There were 15 objectors, who did not become parties opponent. Objections included: the painting lacks artistic merit; it does not “enhance or beautify the Abbey in any way” and is “ugly”; “The ‘Saint’ is sinister and anatomically impossible and the candlestick, as often commented… looks like a giraffe neck”; the painting is not edifying/spiritually beneficial; it is “dark and disturbing”, “grotesque” ... and “raises nothing but horror”; it detracts from the architecture of the Abbey. The Chancellor decided to grant a faculty: "those who find the painting beautiful, helpful and spiritually uplifting can continue to benefit from its presence, and it can continue to play a part in the Abbey’s outreach and mission. Those who are disturbed or displeased by it need not dwell on its presence.  It seems to me that the Abbey is a large enough space, physically and spiritually, to accommodate both camps."

Faculty granted for the removal of a pew platform and four pews from the west end of the church, the Chancellor being satisfied that there were "compelling justifications on the basis of liturgical freedom, pastoral well-being and putting the church to other viable uses consistent with its sacred character."

Appeal allowed against the refusal by the Chancellor of the Diocese to grant a Faculty to authorise the relocation of the chancel screen.

The judgment relates to two faculty petitions, both relating to re-ordering. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the removal of the chancel screen. The judgment contains a detailed discussion of the theological and doctrinal arguments put forward at the hearing.

To meet the increased needs of the church and the community, the proposal was for the creation of a meeting room between the vestry and the servery at the west end of the church. The proposed room would have bi-fold doors, which could be opened up to make the room part of the nave when needed. The work would involve re-siting the font. Contentious parts of the proposals were the depth and height of the meeting room and the fact that two pillars at the west end of the church would be obscured. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the justification for carrying out the proposals outweighed any potential harm.