being inclusive - it's the law!

Wearing one of my other hats

(I help out a bit with a training programme for new curates with the Dioceses of Rochester and Canterbury) we are currently working through a module on church law.

It would seem that the Church of England  gives legal rights to those who live in any of its parishes. For example, if you live in the parish (or to be more precise if you die in the parish) - you have a legal right to be buried in the burial ground of the parish church. Doesn't matter if you are male, female, black, white, married, divorced, believer, the not-so-sure, gay, straight  - you are in.

Using a number of case studies the group were encouraged to consider what they would do in imaginary situations - for example a known paedophile is to be buried in their churchyard. No one you see can be excluded. It seems to me (and thankfully at least to some of these curates who are having to write assignments on church law) that perhaps there is a a bit more inclusion going on here for the dead than there is sometimes for the living!

If only it was enshrined in law that the Church of  England is welcoming and open for all - male, female, black, white, married, divorced, believer, the not-so-sure,  gay, straight. Well actually it is.

At the heart of what it is to be the Church of England, is the notion that the Parish Church is there and available to everyone. No-one is to be excluded. One of the meanings of the word 'parish' is  'outsider' - so to be a Parish Church in the Church of England is to be a Church that legally has enshrined in its culture and existence this notion that it is welcoming and inclusive for all - especially the outsider.

Isn't that the sort of church you would want to be part of?

So... let's work to ensure that this isn't just true for the dead - but is also a reality for the living.