Parish Interregnums

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 16th April 2007.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda 2:30 pm, 16th April 2007

How many parishes had interregnums of more than three months last year.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

The information is not held centrally.

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda

It is a shame that the figure is not available, because we should know how many interregnums last for a substantial period during which many churchwardens and ordinary clergy are happy to take up the slack in parishes around the country. Will my hon. Friend pay tribute to the many clergy and churchwardens who are not only doing a fabulous job in their own parish but covering for others when there are prolonged periods without clergy in other parishes nearby?

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

Of course, we pay respect and homage to all those within the Church who do their job and do their duty, certainly as regards the case that my hon. Friend mentions. I would point out to him that churches often find that a period of interregnum results in the congregation becoming more vibrant as greater numbers of parishioners participate. However, his point is well taken.