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Decision to dissolve black female deacon’s parish is ‘indirectly discriminatory’


The Standard, 27/2/24

​However, Victoria Wakefield KC, for the commissioners, said in written submissions that church authorities concluded that ASSP was “no longer viable as a parish and was unable to provide effectively for the cure of souls and the church’s mission”, with its financial position “consistently among the worst” of the three parishes.

The ASSP’s case involves a “misguided attempt to render religious functions subject to human rights law”, which would have “wide-ranging, undesirable, and unintended implications for the church”, she added.

And she said the commissioners had “adequate regard to the potential equality impacts” of the scheme.

The barrister said the church at ASSP has “for many years been the worst attended of the three parish churches”, despite having the biggest population.

The court was told training and support had been offered to the parish to help remedy concerns raised and time was given for it to improve matters, according to the commissioners.

Ms Wakefield added that the draft proposals would create “two effective and stable parish units in the Shirley area with no reduction in ministerial provision”, and no “serious alternative”, other than maintaining the status quo, has been put forward by ASSP and Mrs Clarke.