The Draft Measure is
a response to the Toyne Report which was earlier approved by
The Synod will be asked
to remit the draft measure to a Revision Committee. If
agreed then a Committee will be created and Synod members are
entitled to write and request changes to the legislation (by
20 December 2005).
The Revision Committee
will also be asked to look at Amending Canon 27 and revisions
to the Vacancy in See Committees Regulations which are both consequences
of the main report.
It is anticipated that
the legislation will go to Parliament in 2007 and will come into
force in 2008.
Details and Comment
This Measure is intended
to fulfil a number of puproses:
the present Dioceses Measure to make it easier to revise the present diocesan
structure of the Church of England and at the same time to make
it easier for a Diocesen Bishop to delegate his functions to
a suffragan Bishops.
With the decline in
numbers of the Church of England and the amalgamation of parishes
there has been a lot of concern about the number of Bishops and
overheads related to the administration of Dioceses. The
present Dioceses Measure has not made it easy to look at changing
Diocesan boundaries and these new proposals are intended to help
To amend the Pastoral
Measure 1983 in order to make it easier to close
churches for regular public worship. This will also beef up the role
of the Council for the Care of Churches.
To allow a Bishop to
make an 'order' in order to provice for 'mission
initiatives'. See below.
To change the way in
which Pastoral Committees operate.
To make provision for
the description of assistant curates and their functions.
The drafting committee
legislative package is the most substantial to have come
to the Synod for over 20 years. It raises a number of important
ecclesiological issues which have been carefully considered
both by the Toyne group itself and the Follow-Up group. The
legislation spans a very broad range of separate if related
areas of the Church’s life and work. It includes three
different sorts of provision: complete replacement of some
existing provisions; amendment of some provisions which will
remain in force in an altered form; and some wholly new provisions."
Such initiatives are
growing in number both within and outside the current parochial
structure. The legislation is intended both to facilitate
these and to make it possible to regulate them.
One of the key issues
will be who is required to consent. As it stands whilst
the consent of a Bishop and the Diocesean Pastoral Committee
is required there is no need to gain the consent of a local incumbent
which is a major change from the present practice.
The drafting committee
state summarise from Toyne:
incumbents and parishes should not have a veto but their
views must be taken into account;
• initiatives should supplement but not undermine the existing parochial
• initiatives and parishes should ideally be mutually supportive.
They further report:
The basic structure the Group has provided for this involves,
an order by the Bishop, accepted by those leading the initiative – thus
making episcopal authority and acknowledgement of that authority
the key – made after full consultation (including with
those having the cure of souls) with the consent of the diocesan
pastoral committee, ensuring that the impact the initiative would
have on the existing work of the Church in the diocese as a whole
is fully considered;
• a “visitor” acting on behalf of the bishop as
guide, counsellor and friend and also providing oversight and conducting
periodic reviews, and
• a carefully written House of Bishops’ Code of Practice
to which the bishop, the leaders of the initiative and the visitor
must have regard.
• The legislation will also involve some limited amendments
to the Canons, taking account, for example, of ecumenical considerations,
with express provisions for mission initiatives to be “slotted
in” to the overall framework of the existing Ecumenical Canons.
The legislation will also:
• devolve to dioceses the
preparation and publication of draft schemes not involving closure
of churches; and
• encourage forms of collaborative ministry other than
formal teams, providing the bishop with the possibility of giving
experienced assistant curates some of the types of special pastoral
responsibility that could be entrusted to a team vicar, and
of using descriptions such as “associate minister”
in the curate’s licence.
and Order in a Decaying Church. Cross†Way article
(99 Winter 2006) David Phillips discusses the relationship between
the structure of the church and mission initiatives in the Church