Church of England votes to end Sunday services obligation

Rural churches no longer have to hold a weekly Sunday service after the Church of England voted to a change to canon law.

The original amendment, which was part of canon law, obliged all parish churches to hold a Sunday service.

During a meeting of the General Synod on Thursday the change to Church law was approved by a vote of 20 bishops to zero, 92 clergy to zero and 118 laity in favour, two against and one abstention.

The proposal was first made by the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Rev Pete Broadbent in 2016.

He argued changing the law would reflect the practice of priests who look after multiple churches in their parish and are unable to hold a Sunday service in each one.

Speaking in 2016 he said: “Most churches can’t manage that and if you’re a priest that looks after about 10 churches you can only do two or three on a Sunday.

“For 20-30 years the Church of England has basically operated on a kind of rota basis.

“For years people have been breaking the law because you have to make those arrangements but actually the law hasn’t caught up with what’s actually happening.

“It (the change) will make no actual difference to what’s going on but it clears the way for people to be honest.”