NSS welcomes moves by Church of England to fix the date of Easter

Posted: Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:25

The National Secular Society has welcomed efforts by the Church of England to fix the date of Easter, something the NSS called for in 2015 in light of the disruption the changeable date causes to schools and business.

The Church of England has announced efforts to fix the date, in consultation with the Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic churches, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has said he would "love to see" the change made before he retires.

However, the Archbishop said that it could take up to ten years and warned that churches have attempted to fix the date for centuries.

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood said: "We hope the Archbishop of Canterbury will succeed in achieving consensus in the negotiations to make Easter a fixed date. The date varying by over a month causes unnecessary havoc, particularly for schools and the holiday industry.

"The Easter Act 1928 already allows for a fixed date to be set, but no action has been taken since the legislation was given Royal Assent. The Catholic Church approved a fixed date in 1963."

Currently the date of Easter can vary by over a month – causing disruption to parents, schools and businesses.

In April 2015 the National Secular Society wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron to note that the Easter Act 1928 allowed for a fixed date to be set, but that no action had ever been taken since the legislation was given Royal Assent.

Before the 2015 General Election Jo Swinson MP, then a minister in the Department for Business, said that there was "no indication" churches would agree to a fixed weekend date for Easter. The NSS has welcomed efforts now to reach such a date, in order to minimise the disruption caused.

Writing in the Independent, NSS honorary associate Joan Smith said: "At present, the date of Easter varies by up to 35 days, creating a logistical nightmare for schools, shops and people who work in the leisure industry. They would benefit from having a fixed spring break each year, so why is the government waiting passively for the churches to resolve an arcane theological argument? One of the things I like about the modern world is that employees have an entitlement to holidays, but that has more to do with recognition of workers' rights than religion."

Tags: Catholic Church, Church of England, Orthodox Church