updated Tuesday lunchtime to include statement from William Fittall, and link to podcast.
There were rather fewer journalists than usual at yesterday’s press briefing for next month’s General Synod; a rival attraction featuring Father Keith Newton had been called at short notice.
The only articles in today’s press that I have seen are these two, about a request for additional texts in the baptism service:
Steve Doughty in the Mail Online: The christening without much Christianity: Anglican church offers ‘baptism lite’ to attract non-worshippers
A “Staff Reporter” in the Liverpool Echo: Church of England plea to make church services less baffling for non-churchgoers
Another item on the synod’s agenda is a debate on parochial fees which attracted some advance attention in the press over the weekend.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones in The Telegraph: Couples face higher fee to marry in church
Jonathan Petre in the Mail Online: Clergy anger over plan to raise church wedding fees by 50%
Sean Nash at Wedding News: Plans to raise cost of church weddings opposed by some vicars
Church House Westminster has given me the following statement in relation to the above.
William Fittall, Secretary-General of the Archbishops’ Council said:
“The General Synod agreed last summer a new and clearer framework for the future setting of fees for weddings and funerals. The present situation is unclear and unsatisfactory, and can lead to discrepancies between fees charged by churches across the country.
“Fee income represents a small part of the Church’s income – the vast majority comes from parishioners’ donations. The legislation was not prepared with a view to producing any fundamental change in overall fee income.
“Next month, General Synod will discuss some principles and proposals relating to how fees are set, but will not be taking any decisions on specific fee levels. These are due to be decided by the Archbishops’ Council in a few months’ time and brought to Synod for agreement.
“The Church of England remains committed to providing ministry to all those in the nation who want it, irrespective of their ability to pay.”
I have linked to the online synod papers here, although the fees paper is not yet available.
Also now available is this podcast: Clerk to Synod David Williams takes us through the agenda for February Synod.