Church of England Calendar

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 9th October 2006.

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Minister (Health) 2:30 pm, 9th October 2006

What plans the commissioners have to restore to the Church of England calendar the date of the accession of Her Majesty the Queen on 6 February as a day on which churches should fly the Union or St. George's flag.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

There is nothing to stop churches flying flags on that date and some already do. If a flag is flown from churches in England, it should be the cross of St. George, preferably bearing the diocesan arms.

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Minister (Health)

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the rule was changed in 2000 in the lectionary, which is the Church of England calendar for vicars and priests. Does he have any information about how the rule came to be applied, given that prayers are still an obligation every 6 February as the date of Her Majesty the Queen's accession both to the throne and as Supreme Head of the Church of England? Would it be possible to publish the minutes to ensure that there was no political correctness or political interference in the decision?

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

I am happy to refer the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question back and give him a written response. The anniversary of the sovereign's accession is observed annually by the Church, but it does not form part of the ecclesiastical calendar. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman believes that it might, as his question suggests. I shall pass that view to the Liturgical Commission, which is responsible for such matters. I shall come back to the hon. Gentleman about the publication of minutes.