Church Commissioners’ Written Answer: Church Service Attendance

On 19th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered a written question on church service attendance, from Alexander Stafford MP.

Alexander Stafford (Rother Valley): 47487 To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what is the average church attendance each week in (a) Rother Valley Constituency, (b) Yorkshire, and (c) England in each year of the last five years.

rsz_1andrew_profile_2Andrew Selous: The most recent survey of church attendance was published in 2018, and the table below contains figures aggregated from 2014-18 using average weekly attendance figures at all age services. These figures are collected each year during four weeks in October.

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Church Commissioners’ Written Answers: Reopening Churches

On 19th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered a written question on the reopening of churches, from Tracey Crouch MP.

Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford): 902801 To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church of England has made of the potential effect on public health of reopening churches.

rsz_1andrew_profile_2Andrew Selous: The House of Bishops meets regularly to review its own guidance to clergy in light of Government and public health advice.

On 5th May the House of Bishops issued new guidance, which can be seen at: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/house-bishops-backs-phased-approach-revising-access-church-buildings

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Church Commissioners’ Written Answers: Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals during Covid-19

On 19th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner Andrew Selous MP, answered two written questions, from Rachael Maskell MP and Barry Sheerman MP  on the reopening of churches for baptisms, weddings and funerals:

Rachael Maskell (York Central): 902797 To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the Commissioners’ timetable is for enabling churches to reopen safely for funeral services after the covid-19 lockdown.

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Andrew Selous: The Church Commissioners do not have responsibility for setting a timetable for the reopening of church buildings for funeral services.

Current guidance from the House of Bishops is not to conduct funeral services in church buildings because of widely expressed concerns about parishes having capacity to conduct such funerals safely, including being able to clean churches thoroughly between services to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This is guidance, not instruction.

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Church Commissioner Questions – Coronavirus, Access to Worship, Family Life, Education, Clergy Discipline Process and Hospital Chaplains

On 19th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons on coronavirus, access to worship, family life, education, the clergy discipline process and hospital chaplaincy. A transcript is below:

Church Commissioners

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

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Church Commissioners’ Written Answers: Coronavirus and Reopening of Churches

On 18th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered two written questions on the reopening of churches, from Dr Luke Evans MP and Andrew Rosindell MP.

Dr Luke Evans (Bosworth): 45480 To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps is the Government taking to work with churches and dioceses to ensure the safe opening of churches for religious worship.

Andrew Rosindell (Romford): 45018 To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is planning to take to allow it to reopen churches as soon as possible while limiting the risk of spreading covid-19.


SelousAndrew Selous: The Church of England is committed to the reopening of buildings in a phased way, in accordance with the rules, restrictions and timetable established by Government. On 5th May the House of Bishops issued guidance, which can be seen here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/house-bishops-backs-phased-approach-revising-access-church-buildings

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Church Commissioners’ Written Answers: Coronavirus, Lichfield and Hereford dioceses

On 18th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered two written questions from Mark Pritchard MP:

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin): 46582 To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions he has had with the Diocese of Lichfield on lost revenues resulting from the closure of places of worship during the covid-19 outbreak.

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin): 46581 To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions he has had with the Diocese of Hereford on lost revenues resulting from the closure of places of worship during the covid-19 outbreak.

rsz_1andrew_profile_2Andrew Selous: The Church Commissioners and National Church Institutions are in discussions with dioceses during this challenging period, including on the evolving financial impact. A series of structured interviews have been held with every diocese, including with the Diocese of Lichfield at the beginning of May [and Diocese of Hereford at the end of April]. Though too early for detailed conclusions, it was clear that the financial challenges will be significant.
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Church Commissioners Written Answer: Churches and VE Day

On 6th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered a written question from Chris Loder MP, on VE Day anniversary commemorations:

Chris Loder (West Dorset): 43168 To ask the Right Hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to fly Union Flags on its churches for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

Andrew Selous: The House of Bishops revised their guidance on access to churches on the 5th May 2020.

The new guidance can be read here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/house-bishops-backs-phased-approach-revising-access-church-buildings

Government guidance states that ‘a minister of religion or worship leader may leave their home to travel to their place of worship’. In most cases, they will do so in order to pray or to stream a service of worship.

If clergy wish to mark VE Day by ringing a church bell or flying a flag from their church buildings, that is within government guidance. This advice does not extend to bell-ringers, sextons or other church officers or volunteers.

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