Thinking Anglicans

Government reports on church buildings

Two recent reports:

The Department for Communities and Local Government has just published Cathedrals and their communities: a report on the diverse roles of cathedrals in modern England.

Read the press release here: Government report highlights English cathedrals’ community spirit and the full document (20 pages) can be downloaded here.

The Ecclesiastical Law Society reported: Cathedrals and their Communities.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport recently published The Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals.

Read the press release here: Independent review calls for greater community use to give church buildings a sustainable future and the full document (72 pages) can be downloaded here.

The Church Times reported on this: Review calls for change of attitude to church buildings.

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Peter MullinsJohn BunyanRichard GrandKateLavinia Nelder Recent comment authors
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Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

I have some sympathy with the author’s intentions, and I can see that in some, limited, circumstances, revitalising a church building by developing it a as multi-use community space may be entirely possible. But I am not sure that this is anything more than a very limited panacea. It seems to me that the main problems are practical. For any community space to be viable it needs good car-parking, good toilets, and good heating. In my neck of the woods almost every village has a church that lacks those necessities and a village hall that ticks all the boxes. So… Read more »

Lavinia Nelder
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Lavinia Nelder

It’s all the sort of thing that many rural worshipers would like to see, and many have spent decades fighting to get the changes made. There are plenty of very small communities without a hall where this could be used if we could: get rid of pews, have mains water laid on and in some cases get electricity into the building. But I agree with Simon, we are looking at this the wrong way and we need to think about which buildings are more suitable for worship. Our parish church was demolished and rebuilt in the late 1700’s as the… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

So, in essence, the Government would rather like to have a network of cheap, community spaces which are paid for by worshippers, past and present, and not out of any taxes.

Peter Mullins
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Peter Mullins

In essence, the great and good of the heritage world (who made up all the members of this group alongside one Bishop and one Dean) are deeply worried that the first half of the 21st century might see the loss of many unaffordable ancient parish churches (75% are listed buildings, 45% of Grade I listed buildings are parish churches) just as the first half of the 20th century saw the loss of many unaffordable country houses. Their best shots are (1) that developing the widest possible uses (which will differ substantially in the different contexts) will maximize income and public… Read more »

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

“Heritage industry” is a biased, and silly description. The National Trust and the various church heritage bodies do a wonderful job with the help of many volunteers and generous donations – they are not an “industry”. I for one find God more in a beautiful, unspoilt historic church building – what the Homily calls “the house of God” and “temple of the Lord” -(as well as in natural beauty that is reflected in the finest architecture) than in services where one encounters nonsensical and nagging – and threatening sermons (all too common in my Diocese of Sydney), banal choruses, and… Read more »

Peter Mullins
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Peter Mullins

I admire and value the heritage industry and can’t think why correctly pointing out that the membership of the working party and their conclusions strongly reflects its perspective should be thought either biased or silly – but, heigh ho, at least I didn’t accuse anyone of being nonsensical, nagging, threatening, banal or even chummy!