Would a provincial solution require parliamentary approval?

Apr 13, 2024 by

by Martin Davie:

A couple of weeks ago, I asked a well-informed conservative member of the Church of England why he thought it was that the House of Bishops seemed reluctant to even consider the idea of a provincial solution to the Church of England’s current impasse over issues to do with human sexuality as proposed by the Church of England Evangelical Council. His answer was that one of the key reasons was that the bishops believed that there was no point in considering a provincial solution because Parliament would never vote for such a development.

Prima facie this argument seems persuasive, but it should be rejected for two reasons.

First parliamentary approval would only be needed for a provincial solution which involved the creation of a new province (for either conservatives or liberals) in addition to the existing provinces of Canterbury and York. It would not be needed for a re-arrangement of the Church of England’s current diocesan and provincial structure that did not involve the creation of an additional province.

Secondly, even if a provincial solution involving an additional third province would have to involve the Church of England bringing  a proposal to Parliament for approval, this should not be regarded as a reason for not trying to bring such a solution about.

In order to understand why these two counter arguments have force, the first thing that needs to be understood is that the legislation which requires the Church of England to bring church legislation to Parliament for approval is The Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919.

Sections 3 and 4 of this act state:

Read here

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