Saturday, 9 July 2011

Parochial Fees Order defeated

As we reported earlier Synod debated the Parochial Fees Order this afternoon. This order proposed revised fees for weddings and funerals from 1 January 2012.

In the debate (on a motion to “consider” the order), most speeches were against various aspects of the new fees order and many alternative, often contradictory, proposals were made. At the end the motion was defeated with 134 votes in favour and 166 votes against, with 18 recorded abstentions.

As a consequence the new order cannot come into effect. Unless and until a new order is approved by Synod the current order, which has applied since 1 January 2011, will continue in force.

Note on procedure
Approval of a fees order takes three stages.
1. Consideration - a general debate
2. Consideration of amendments to the order
3. Approval of the [amended] order
Since the order was defeated at the first stage Synod did not have the opportunity to consider the amendments, of which there were 25.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 5:30pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Good to know that the 'Mind of Synod' is against the pressure of market forces to put a higher premium on pastoral services.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 8:40pm BST

I am absolutely delighted that General Synod refused to increase wedding and funeral fees. I am sure it is the right decision and one small strep towards making it easier for people to come back to churches for the ceremony

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Sunday, 10 July 2011 at 4:27pm BST

I have a lot of sympathy with those here who argue that fees should be left to individual churches to decide which might then be flexible enough to deal with those of limited means.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 10 July 2011 at 6:14pm BST

The problem is that people who want to get married can have a rather limited choice. If you want to run a market model, reduce the barriers to competition.

Interestingly our local council has just transferred the crem to a private operator. Their first move to increase revenues is to offer cut price first thing in the morning slots (which are apparently less popular). And their first priority for investment is "front of house".

Same crem, same service, different demand, different price.

I mention this because, like one of the speakers in the debate I have two churches. In my time C1 has about 80 weddings, C2 about 5. We are obliged to charge the same for each. C1 is an ancient church with bells, C2 a 1968 construction. C1 is nice and pretty, and has bells. C2 is a bit drab but everyone can see and hear. Every priest I've shown the churches to has been excited by C2, and most have felt constrained by C1 (now thankfully and joyfully updated, repainted, storage converted to useful space etc).

Our mission strategy includes differentiation - in spite of the inherited mantra "we are all Christians, we are all the same," and in fact to make the true part of that observation real, we note that different people are attracted to different churches - fact. God loves them just the same - fact. Let's just not pretend that people are the same or come for the same reasons - let's take every opportunity to meet them where they are.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Sunday, 10 July 2011 at 10:19pm BST
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