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Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

32. What the policy of the Church Commissioners is on broadcasts from cathedrals and churches; and if he will make a statement. (151093)

The commissioners themselves do not have such a policy. However, by way of a statement, church buildings play a central part in the community and the Church welcomes the wide range of uses to which its buildings are put, as long as they are not contrary to its teaching and do not conflict with its mission.

I understand that the General Synod debated the issue two years ago, but there is no agreed policy on how church buildings, particularly cathedrals, can and should be used for film making and other types of broadcasting. Given the recent controversies about the use of church buildings and places of worship, is it not time that the Synod set down an agreed policy?

The Synod has just met and will hold its next meeting later in the year. I shall be happy to put the hon. Gentleman’s point to its representatives, but I am sure that he will agree that, whether on television, radio or the internet, regular broadcasts from churches and cathedrals allow a wider audience to keep in touch with one of the treasures of our national life, particularly at times of national joy or grief. Many come together through the broadcast of special services.