§ 47. Mr. Awbery
asked the hon. Member for Finchley, as representing the Church Commissioners, if he will give an assurance that no churches in Bristol will be considered as redundant and closed down until the parishioners have been fully consulted in the matter; and, in cases of redundancy, if he will state how the endowments given for the benefit of parishioners will be disposed of.
§ Sir J. Crowder
The procedure followed in relation to the closing of redundant churches and the disposal of endowments of benefices to be united or held together in plurality is prescribed by statute, namely, by the Union of Benefices Measures, the Reorganisation Areas Measure and the Pastoral Reorganisation Measure.
No church in Bristol or elsewhere can be finally closed down and no endowment can be dealt with except after full consultation with the incumbents and parochial church councils concerned, who have rights of objection and appeal.
Any benefice endowments not left with the united benefice or the benefices held in plurality will be used only for the augmentation of other benefices (normally in the same diocese) or for clerical or lay assistance either in the parishes concerned or elsewhere in the diocese or generally for the cure of souls in the same diocese.
If by endowments for the benefit of parishioners the hon. Member refers to endowments on charitable trusts for their benefit any consequential amendment would need the sanction of the Charity Commissioners.