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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 petition sought permission for the following works in the Grade I listed church: the installation of toilets and the creation of a sound-proof meeting room with kitchen facilities in the north transept; the removal of the temporary kitchen at the east end of the south aisle; the creation of a reredos; the relocation of an altar in front of the reredos; and the creation of storage space behind the reredos. One matter of concern in this case was the proposal to level the floor of the Cowper Chapel in order to create an even floor for the proposed meeting room. However, the Chancellor granted a faculty for all the items as proposed.

In October 2014 the Chancellor had granted a faculty for certain works, including the replacement of pews with chairs. It was a condition of the faculty that "No order shall be placed for the new nave chairs/pews until their design has been either agreed with the DAC, English Heritage and the Victorian Society or approved by the Chancellor." In September 2016, the PCC, without approval, ordered 50 chairs which had matt gold coloured metal frames, with seats and backs of a rich brown faux leather. Upon hearing of this, Historic England and the Victorian Society objected to the choice of chair. The petitioners applied for a confirmatory faculty limited to ten years. Mindful of the huge cost the PCC had incurred in the reordering, and that the justification outweighed the harm in this case, the Chancellor determined to grant a faculty for 10 years, requiring the PCC before the end of such period to put forward proposals for some alternative chairs.

The reordering proposals for the Grade I church included: (a) removal and disposal of all pews, except five older 'pauper' pews to the west end of the north aisle; (b) introduction of upholstered chairs; (c) repairs to the nave floor; (d) replacement of existing carpet; (e) installation of an oak storage unit; and (f) replacement of the overhead heaters. The Victorian Society argued that the removal of all the pews would adversely affect the visual impact of the interior, and it had concerns about upholstered chairs. However, the evidence was that the pews were of poor quality wood and were riddled with worm and unrepairable. The Chancellor granted a faculty on the understanding that only the seats of the proposed chairs would be upholstered and in a neutral colour.

A faculty was sought for extensive reordering works. Part of the reason for the works was to allow the church to be used by the local Church of England school in particular and the community in general. The Victorian Society objected to the the laying of the proposed wooden floor, which would involve removing some Victorian floor tiles. The Church Buildings Council objected to the proposed new position for the font. Both the Victorian Society and the Church Buildings Council objected to the proposed new pew benches being upholstered. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that the new pew benches should not be upholstered, but may have separate cushions, subject to the material being approved by the court.

The proposal was to retain permanently a Hauptwerk digital organ (belonging to Wakefield Cathedral), which was introduced into the church under an Archdeacon’s Licence for temporary minor re-ordering. The church already had a faculty in place for the removal and disposal of the pipe organ, with the proviso of having a suitable replacement option. Although the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposal, the Chancellor granted a faculty: "I am satisfied that the petitioners have discharged the burden on them of displacing the presumption that the Harrison and Harrison organ should be replaced with a pipe-organ. I am satisfied that they have considered the merits and demerits of alternatives to their preferred Hauptwerk solution, particularly the relative costs, and that their proposal is in all the circumstances a reasonable one in terms of their wishes, needs and resources."

The Chancellor granted a faculty for the installation of a retractable screen to be placed over the chancel arch of the church, being satisfied that this would be preferable to the current arrangement of standing a portable screen on boxes at the front of the nave, and that the works were likely to bring benefits which outweighed the general presumption that change should not be permitted.

The church had a growing reputation as a safe place for LGBTQIA+ people of faith. The parish priest and an assistant churchwarden petitioned for the introduction of a new altar frontal, the design of  which took the form of a Progress Pride image with a white cross upon it. There were nine objections to the petition and sixteen letters and emails in support of it. None of the objectors were 'interested persons' within the meaning of Rule 10.1.(a)-(g) of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015. The Deputy Chancellor therefore had to decide, as a preliminary matter, under Rule 10.1.(h), whether any of the objectors had a sufficient interest in the subject matter of the petition. He determined that three of the objectors had a sufficient interest, namely, a regular attender at the church (who was not on the church electoral roll) and two priests, who raised liturgical and doctrinal issues in their objections. One of the two priests was a priest in the Diocese of Leicester, and the other was a member of the General Synod and of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.

This judgment is supplementary to the preliminary judgment in Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 1, when the Chancellor had to give directions as to which of the nine people who had objected to the petition had a sufficient interest in the subject-matter of the petition. The Chancellor had determined that three of the nine objectors had a sufficient interest. However, subsequent correspondence required the Chancellor to reconsider whether one of the three had a sufficient interest. He determined to give the person concerned a short period in which to provide further information before the Chancellor made a decision.

In his decision in Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 1, the Acting Chancellor concluded, as a preliminary issue, that three of the nine persons who submitted objections to the petition had a "sufficient interest". In this decision, the Acting Chancellor set aside his original order in so far as he now considered that one of those three objectors did not have a sufficient interest in the petition.

his judgment (which was preceded by three interim judgments with the neutral citations [2023] ECC Lei 1, [2023] ECC Lei 2 and [2023] ECC Lei 3, dealing with preliminary issues) relates to a petition for the introduction of a new altar frontal displaying the colours of the Progress Pride flag, the church having come to be regarded over time as a safe worshipping space for LGBTQIA+ people of faith. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty: "The Progress Pride flag is not a Christian emblem ... it is a secular contemporary emblem used for many causes and contemporary discourse ... The focus, purpose and celebration of the Holy Communion is for all to come to Jesus and remember His sacrifice ... It is clear that there is not a unified belief that the proposed Altar frontal achieves this message of oneness in Christ".