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Source: (consider it) Thread: Non-religious music at St Sepulchre's
Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Helen-Eva:
quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
In addition, a parish is a charity, and the PCC members are the trustees, and so responsible for ensuring that the charity meets its charitable objectives. Is the provision of a venue for rehearsal or concerts (on a commercial basis) one of those objectives?

Based on what l'Organist says, I guess it is. Or at least being the Musician's church etc is an explicit objective of that particular church according to the diocese of London.
Helen-Eva, your post crossed mine while I was writing it.

Parish churches are charities but they don't usually have specific objects more precise than to be a parish church for the parish of X. Such an explicit objective would be almost unknown for a church whose origins go back to a medieval or pre-medieval past at a time when the City of London was densely packed with residents.

It would be very unusual, I suspect unknown, for there to be a church which included within its explicit charitable objects a mission to the musicians of the City of London, yet alone the provision of practice rooms and rehearsal facilities.

So unless the vicar and PCC have concluded either that providing such facilities is part of St Sepulchre's Christian mission and would further the greater glory of God or that the income from it is a useful subsidy to that mission, it's probably outside the lawful objects of St Sepulchre's.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
How does this follow? I don't know St Sepulchre at all, but the City of London has a rather small resident population (less than 10,000), and a very much larger community of commuting workers (more than 300,000).

Those 300,000 people aren't there on Sundays.

The idea that one should only serve the 10,000 residents and not the 300,000 people who are there for long hours on weekdays is rather misguided to say the least.

So I conclude that the absence of Sunday service from a church in a community where 97% of the people aren't there on Sundays really doesn't tell you anything about the effectiveness or otherwise of the church's mission.

I accept that, and admit that that my experience of city centre churches in medieval centres where people no longer live in is of this city (Bristol, see below) not London.

It is a dilemma what you do when the churches are no longer where the people are. Here, even allowing for the ones destroyed by bombing and not rebuilt, central Bristol includes two churches that don't have services but are maintained by a trust, one that's a concert hall (i.e. not a church at all), one that's an office, one that was a diocesan library and is now unused, and one that nobody knows what to do with.

The ones that are working churches here do still have Sunday services and congregations. Although they do things in the week, those are likely either not to be well attended or to involve the Sunday congregation in some way. True, Bristol may well have residential neighbourhoods closer in to the original core than the City of London. That still means, though, that people are coming into the centre on Sundays. Even so, there is a lot more of inhabited London that's fairly central than people tend to assume.

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Bishops Finger
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The Friends of the City Churches have a useful website, with information about the various churches, and links to their websites (where applicable):

http://www.london-city-churches.org.uk/

BTW, some Hostly advice might be welcome, as it seems to me that this thread is getting close to interfering with a church's internal affairs, with people also dangerously close to accusing interested parties to be liars.

IJ

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Bishops Finger
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Incidentally, if you go to that website, click on 'City Events', and scroll down a little way, there's a link to a PDF list of Saturday and Sunday services in City churches. The Sunday list is quite impressive, with a wonderful variety of denominations and liturgies!

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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L'organist
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posted by Enoch
quote:
As an aside, if there haven't been regular Sunday services for 30 years, it's a bit difficult to conclude that St Sepulchre's mission to the musical community has been having much effect.


Regular weekday services took place which were attended by people from offices nearby. And there were other services, such as carol services, which had a good attendance.

In any case, it must be recognised that many members of the "musical community" are working in churches on a Sunday.

I'm puzzled by the silence of the Patron of the living in all of this: I'd have thought that St John's College, Oxford, might have some input on this situation? Or were they persuaded to relinquish their patronage to the bishop?

I'm not sure why anyone would think the coverage in The Church Times would be biased or slanted against +Pete and the parish: my reading of it is that it gives an accurate description of what has happened. Of course, the plant people and +Pete may not like the light it casts on them, but that is not the same as inaccuracy.

As for the idea that there will be "exciting developments" around Christmas: I can tell you now that none of the people I know who have been involved with Christmas concerts and services at St Sepulchre's in past years have been contacted about anything for this year, and none of them are holding their breath.

I feel a smidgeon of sympathy for the acting bishop, but only a smidgeon. To be blunt, David Ingall and the HTB plant people brought about the shoot out and they picked the ground and waited to see what happened: +Pete and the diocese blinked and decided to retire from the field. The statement on the diocesan website is a pretty threadbare figleaf and can't disguise the fact that HTB and Mr Ingall have run rings around the diocese and its acting bishop and are completely unrepentant about the bad faith they have shown.

[ 29. September 2017, 20:42: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
Given their other plans this is sheer sanctimonious hypocrisy. They are a cult answerable to no one and nothing but their own ego.

Just like so many others of different hues in the C of E. Parishes do have significant autonomy. In addition, a parish is a charity, and the PCC members are the trustees, and so responsible for ensuring that the charity meets its charitable objectives. Is the provision of a venue for rehearsal or concerts (on a commercial basis) one of those objectives?
The Trust Deeds (where they exist) will be so broad as to ensure that a wide range of things can be done but will not be required to be done. It's a matter of a number of options but little compulsion to take any particular one.

Sunday worship and Alpha Courses would, for example, fit perfectly. The church would then be said to be providing a Christian presence in the community. They don't have to provide a venue for concerts but given the history they would IMHO have a moral obligation to continue.

The one point I'm still unsure on, is what guarantees were given about the music when the plant started. A lot has been claimed but getting to the nub of it is vital.

The church seem to be wholly at fault. Who's to say, thought that there haven't been a few ill directed remarks about the theology of the new plant, allied to a presumption about church use from various groups not directly linked to the church, which may have hardened already setting attitudes.

It's unhelpful to drag the theology of the plant into this - a move which would make anyone over defensive.

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Jengie jon

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Trust deeds only need exist when the Charity needs to be registered. This does not apply to C of E churches.Yes, it does apply to all other churches.

Jengie

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BroJames
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C of E churches are increasingly required to become registered charities as their income reaches a certain threshold. I think some form of generic statement of trust has been agreed with the Charity Commission, but I'm not sure.

As far as St. Sepulchre is concerned, provided they don't breach Canon Law, or breach their duty as trustees, the PCC aren't really answerable to anyone, except the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. A Special Parochial Church Meeting can be 'forced' by one third of the lay members of the PCC, or an Extraordinary Meeting can be called for by one tenth of the Electoral Roll membership if the Archdeacon agrees. But in either case AFAICT they can only force a discussion and make recommendations to the PCC.

AFAIK, once a parish priest is appointed, the patron(s) have no power at all over her/his actions and can do nothing until the living becomes vacant.

Most of the apparent power of bishops etc. lies in influence and persuasion. The long term bruising effect of using the law in these situations, even when as with the Oxford Movement, the law was technically on the side of the hierarchy means that even where legal levers are available the powers that be are reluctant to face the uncertainty, negative publicity and cost of using them. Legal victories in this sort of situation tent to be Pyrrhic.

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Bishops Finger
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I notice that the Musicians' Chapel at St. Sepulchre's seems to have a life of its own:

http://www.musicianschapel.org.uk/

There appears to be a degree of independence from the rest of the church's activities, so hopefully this will continue (the May 2018 service is already planned and advertised).

Time will tell...

IJ

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L'organist
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If a CofE parish is to be registered as a charity - and you're quite right that the form now is for each parish to do so on an individual basis - then they have to satisfy the Charity Commission that they fulfil certain aims or bring "public benefit".

If the Chancellor of the diocese of London did his homework and was on the ball, then one of the charitable aims of St Sepulchre's should clearly be to act as the national musicians' church: IMV it would be astonishing if this wasn't included when charitable status was sought and obtained.

Next time I'm in the City I'll make a point of going to St Sepulchre's: first because I need to sort out an entry in the Book of Remembrance; second to see if they've still got the rather fine altar frontal and matching communion rail kneelers which were given as a gift in memory of Sir Malcolm Sargent, conductor of the Proms for many years.

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Baptist Trainfan
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The Charity Act (2006) withdrew the presumption that the "advancement of religion" is, in itself, to the public benefit.

However, as the group "Stewardship" point out in this helpful paper, "The new rules on demonstrating and reporting on public benefit are in some ways a wake up call to the church. A call to think carefully and objectively about the positive impact that we, as a community of Christians make to individuals and to society, from the perspective of the outside world. This is very much a positive thing – causing us to evaluate and re-evaluate what we are doing and achieving. It may even cause us to refocus and do things better!"

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Baptist Trainfan
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The Church has been registered as a Charity since January 2015. On the Charity Commission website its stated activities are "ST SEPULCHRE'S IS PART OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. WE PROMOTE THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THE WORKPLACE AND MUSIC, AS THE NATIONAL MUSICIANS' CHURCH. WE PROVIDE REGULAR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP SERVICES, OPEN TO ALL; AND THE TEACHING OF CHRISTIANITY THROUGH SERMONS, COURSES AND SMALL GROUPS. WE ALSO PROVIDE A VENUE FOR THE STAGING OF CONCERTS AND OTHER EVENTS, SUCH AS LECTURE SERIES". This is bulked out by a reference to their Mission Action Plan which is appended to the annual accounts.
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Bishops Finger
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Well, as I said, time will tell. That all sounds fair enough to this outsider, but I expect those with axes to grind will still be accusing TPTB and the PCC of being, in effect, liars and poltroons... [Disappointed]

IJ

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
second to see if they've still got the rather fine altar frontal

Surely HTB don't hold with such popish frippery.

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ExclamationMark
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Go to the Charities' Commission website and you can access the church's return.

Like any charity with an income of over £100K it has to register as an individual charity.

Points to reflect on from the accounts.

1.Concert fees and rental form a large part of the church's income. That income at over £300K is significant but declining

2. The Mission Statement refers to an aim of music excellence and the church's role of the Musicians Church. The report also refers to an expanding program of hiring. There's a Music Director and a Worship Pastor on staff. Is there any background tension between those two posts which has helped to generate more heat than light?

3. The church receives grant income from outside sources (e.g. Guilds) to fund certain aspects of its musical ministry. What control and/or strings do those groups have? What oversight does/can the church exercise over those "appointees?" Not every church would be happy with those circumstances as the vision//goals of such groups are not always compatible with those of the church

4. On both sets of accounts, the list of PCC members has one name redacted. Why? Who?

5. The church has access to income few other churches enjoy -- flat rental, parish rate, NET mast rental.

6. There's a very low % of charitable giving (around £10k). That's not untypical of parish churches as it doesn't include the diocesan share

7. 20 -25% of income is spent on church running expenses (excluding salaries) Seems high

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Liturgylover
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It's worth mentioning that the weekly service of Choral evensong and monthly sung Eucharist continues as normal and is not affected by the dispute. There was a suggestion earlier that they had been discontinued but that's not the case.
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L'organist
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Really? St Sepulchre's own website describes the Sunday service thus:

Our Sunday services are informal and lively, with contemporary worship, Bible-based preaching and prayer. They are underpinned by a desire to seek the presence of God, and grow in our faith. Each Sunday there is also a lively children’s programme. ...

We celebrate Communion on the 3rd Tuesday evening and 1st Sunday of every month.


There is no mention of any "monthly Eucharist" unless that is what is referred to about the 1st Sunday, but the website gives the firm impression that it is a "contemporary" service.

The website should be up-to-date, since it has been much altered since the meeting with +Pete to include stuff about music, such as

St. Sepulchre’s is ‘The Musicians’ Church,’ and music and musicians are at the heart of our ministry. We believe that God loves music, and that He delights in how we use our gifts.

Our vision is for St. Sepulchre’s to be a place where music and musicians are valued and appreciated, a space for musicians to use, and a place where they can encounter God.


At the moment this is just so many words; and it is astonishing that The Revd Ingall thinks that musicians can encounter God in a "space" but apparently not through making music.

It is still the case that the "concerts" button has nothing at all after a concert on 16th November: at a time when nearly every central London church is listing carol services and concerts there is zilch at St Sepulchre's.

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Baptist Trainfan
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The choral services are on Tuesdays.
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BroJames
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It looks to me as though they have a choral service every Tuesday evening. On the third Tuesday of each month it is a communion service rather than evensong.

My guess is that that is a long-established pattern in a church which for many years has had no Sunday congregation.

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Bishops Finger
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Yes, I assumed that the 'monthly Sung Eucharist' was one of the Tuesday evening services.

I wonder if they have a full BCP Eucharist, or combine it with a shortened Evensong? A MW Report might be interesting, as long as it's from someone interested in liturgy rather than litigation.

IJ

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Baptist Trainfan
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The music list for the "summer term" (the most recent to be posted online) suggests that the usual "canticles" and "responses" are replaced by a Communion setting. So a "proper" choral Eucharist, I suspect.
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Bishops Finger
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Thanks, BT - I hadn't spotted that link!

The list is rather incomplete, but yes, it does appear that the 'third Tuesday' 630pm service is a full BCP Sung Eucharist.

IJ

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Liturgylover
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
The music list for the "summer term" (the most recent to be posted online) suggests that the usual "canticles" and "responses" are replaced by a Communion setting. So a "proper" choral Eucharist, I suspect.

Exactly. The weekly choral service on a Tuesday is Choral Evensong and that is replaced once a month with a Sung Eucharist.
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Bishops Finger
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It must be quite a contrast to the informal Communion service on the first Sunday of the month! I do hope they at least use an authorised C of E Eucharistic Prayer, to keep the lawyers at bay.

IJ

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Higgs Bosun
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Though even this has been bypassed in the case of a church I know of. Not directly an HTB plant as far as I know, but a similar ethos: the (then) Bishop simply offered them the use of a redundant church and then gave it its own parish of which the boundary is the churchyard wall.

I know of a case like that. However, in that case the church's parish had been combined with the neighbouring parish a number of years previously. Apparently it is very hard to undo this legally. The bishop did not want to have the building deconsecrated and sold off, so invited a plant group to come, which needed the agreement of the combined parish.

In another case of the reversal of closures, the absorbed building became a 'Pioneer Ministry' within the combined parish.

Then there is the case of the combined parish, where the unused church building is now a (conevo) plant and is the parish church of its original parish. The other building and its original parish
are now combined with the active neighbour. Legally, this is moving a parish boundary, which is much easier.

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