Parish reorganisation and closed church buildings

The Church responds to changing mission and pastoral needs to make the most effective use of its clergy, money and buildings across the country. 

Dioceses regularly review how they provide support for mission, ministry and pastoral care. Sometimes this leads to reorganisation such as:

  • Joining parishes together or creating new ones e.g. in new housing areas
  • Setting up a Bishop’s Mission Order to support a new mission initiative or fresh expression of church
  • Closing a church building no longer required as a place of worship or replacing one which is unsuitable.

We support dioceses in developing their mission strategies, and in taking their proposals forward. Often this will involve public consultation, which we carry out. 

Countryside landscape with church spire in the distance Jane Willis

Parish reorganisation

Reorganisation is carried out by making Schemes and Orders under the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011. Most changes will involve public consultation with an opportunity for parishioners and others to comment on the proposals.

The Church Commissioners’ Pastoral Team advise diocesan colleagues in developing their proposals and publish schemes to give these effect. They also support the Commissioners’ Mission and Pastoral Committee who consider any objections to proposals and decide whether these should go forward.

Closed church buildings

The Church Commissioners decide what happens to closed church buildings. Their Closed Churches Team work in partnership with dioceses in seeking new uses, and publish schemes to settle the future of these buildings.

They also support the Commissioners’ Church Buildings (Uses and Disposals) Committee who consider any objections to the proposals and also decide what happens when a suitable use cannot be found.

Chancel repair liability

We also have a small team that deals with the Church Commissioners' responsibilities as "lay rectors". The Commissioners are responsible (partly or wholly) for the liability to repair the chancel of several hundred buildings across the country. Find out more about this work