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Bishop of Willesden calls for the Church of England to scrap 'weekly Sunday service' law

PUBLISHED: 12:16 18 October 2016

Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden

Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden

Archant

The Bishop of Willesden is calling for the Church of England to scrap a law that requires vicars to hold a service on every Sunday.

Rt Rev Pete Broadbent claims shrinking congregations at some rural churches has already resulted in vicars holding services on a rotational basis – although it breaches church laws.

The church law Canon B11 stipulates that morning and evening prayers should be held “in every parish church at least on all Sundays”.

Bishop Broadbent 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 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.”

The bishop’s recommendations have been approved by the Archbishops’ Council and is due to go in front of the General Synod.

A Church of England spokesman said: “Services would continue in every parish but not necessarily in every church in each parish, where that parish has a lot of churches, on every Sunday.

“Sunday worship would remain available in every parish.”

The number of people attending weekly Church of England services dropped below one million for the first time in 2014, official figures published in January showed.

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