A member of the Church of England's governing body claimed bringing the programme forward to 1.15pm meant it was missing peak-time evening audiences. The show, which first aired during the early 1960s, previously took early-evening slots.
But a BBC spokesman told Premier: "Songs of Praise has moved to a new time on Sunday's to ensure consistency in scheduling, make it easier to find for viewers and to avoid the programme being displaced by sporting events which can often overrun."
Addressing fellow members of General Synod, Chris Angus from the Diocese of Carlisle was quoted by The Times as asking if leaders "had questioned why the only regular religious television programme previously to be broadcast in peak time has these past few months been marginalised to a slot early on Sunday afternoons."
Songs of Praise presenters Pam Rhodes, Aled Jones and Diane-Louise Jordan
In a written response, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said he had been informed by the BBC that the schedule change meant Songs of Praise episodes were accessible on BBC iPlayer for longer during Sundays.
Last March, it was announced that independent companies would take over production of Songs of Praise from the BBC.
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