“Help, I’ve got a churchyard!” training event

19 September 2024, 17:30 - 19:00


This online training event will explain the law relating to churchyards in the Church of England, and will aim to help those who manage them to keep out of trouble.

The event is aimed at churchwardens, incumbents, priests-in-charge, and assistant curates – especially those who are new in post or new to managing a churchyard.  It is also of relevance to PCC members, area deans, archdeacons and diocesan registry staff.

This event takes place over two sessions:

• Thursday 19 September 17:30–19:00 BST : Burials and graves
• Wednesday 2 October from 17:30–19:00 BST : Memorials

Please note by registering once you are registering for both sessions, even though the dates listed in the header above and automatically-generated emails are only for the first session (limitations of the technology).

Each evening will conclude with questions. This webinar is organized by the training committee of the ELS. Please note there will be a limited number of places for this webinar to keep questions and discussion productive:- when this number is reached bookings will close.

The Zoom webinar is open to members and non-members and is free of charge. Booking through this website closes 24 hours before the event. Please book using the form below. The day before the event, Zoom invitations will be sent out by email to those who have booked.

Topics covered will include: Session One: Who has the right to be buried in a churchyard? Where can they be buried? Cremated remains. Gravespace reservations and the importance of churchyard plans. Exhumation. Full churchyards – churchyard extensions and applications to close churchyards. Maintenance of closed churchyards – local authorities. Session Two: Basic principle – faculty jurisdiction. Churchyard Regulations (and the new proposals – AMOs) – “delegation” to minister. What might the Churchyard Regulations cover? Memorials falling outwith the Regulations. Informing the bereaved. Extras and how to control them – teddy bears, plastic flowers, balloons, fresh flowers, planting a “garden”, chippings, QR codes. Maintenance of memorials – next of kin and PCC liability. Topple testing.

About the presenters:

Louise Connacher is the Registrar of the Province of York, and the Registrar of the Dioceses of Sodor and Man and of York.  She has also acted as Deputy Registrar of the Dioceses of Blackburn and Leeds.  In these roles, Louise has advised churchwardens, incumbents and archdeacons on many contentious churchyard issues, as well as handling faculty applications regarding churchyards.  As a member of her local PCC, she also has practical experience of dealing with collapsed boundary walls, storm-damaged trees and toppled memorials…

June Rodgers is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Lady Margaret Hall Oxford She sat as a recorder of The Crown Court from 1990-2020. She is a recently retired barrister and was Chancellor of the DIOCESE OF GLOUCESTER from 1990-2020, when she had to unscramble various parochial difficulties by way of Consistory Courts, site views and advice to incumbents and members of PCCs. Early enquiries of Diocesan resources (there to help Churchwardens and PCC members) might have reduced the rarely helpful involvement of local papers and alleviated stress and worry on those caring for their churches. She also acted as a deputy Chancellor for the Diocese of London in a case involving an historic graveyard, and the role of a group of “friends” of a church.  Graveyards can give rise to emotional trouble for parishes, church wardens and incumbents, badgers, birds let alone surviving relatives but much  stress can be avoided by getting the legal rules clear from the start. She was a Common Councellor in the city of London for some 25 years, serving on it Patronage Committee and on committees responsible for running a civic cemetery and a crematorium



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