Building Resilience Conference


Held at the Emmanuel Centre, London, on Wednesday 27 June 2018, the National Churches Trust's conference was designed to help volunteers and staff involved in church heritage ensure  the future sustainability of church buildings so that they can be there for people to use and enjoy.

For the 2018 conference presentations, click here

For the 2018 conference videos, click here

Bill Bryson, writer, broadcaster and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust, opened the conference.


The Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, Member of Parliament for the Meriden Constituency and Second Church Estates Commissioner, gave the keynote speech.



Key themes discussed were:

  • How to attract visitors to places of worship.
  • How best to look after church buildings cost effectively.
  • Accessing key funding streams.

A sell out success

Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust said:

"Our 2018 Conference was a sell out, with over 200 people taking part. Many thanks to everyone who contributed and helped to make it such a success."

"The aim of the conference was to help volunteers and staff involved in church heritage ensure the future sustainability of church buildings so that they can be there for people to use and enjoy. With delegates attending from churches, heritage bodies and academia, I hope that what we learned on the day will also make it easier for all of us who love church buildings to work together more effectively as partners."

"At the conference the National Churches Trust also unveiled its strategy for 2019 – 2023. With three key goals of preserving heritage, promoting sustainability and inspiring support, our new strategy is designed to make sure that Trust can continue to support a wide range of church improvements, to make it easier for churches to carry out regular maintenance, and to encourage more people to visit churches."

The conference sessions explored the the following themes:

  • Pilgrims and strangers - how and why to think about visitors.
  • What's the damage - it's time to do more about maintenance.
  • The sixty-four thousand dollar question - navigating the new funding landscape

Speakers included

  • Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner
  • Bill Bryson OBE
  • Luke March, Chairman, National Churches Trust
  • Bernard Donoghue, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions
  • Emma Clarke, Director, Triquest Solutions Ltd
  • Dr Louise Hampson, Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture
  • James Miller, Northamptonshire's 100 Best Churches
  • Sarah Crossland, National Churches Trust
  • Dr Jonathan Foyle, architectural historian and broadcaster
  • Joe Picalli, Building Conservation Solutions
  • Peter Pridham, Churchwarden,  Fishlake St Cuthbert, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
  • Nicholas Warns, Nicholas Warns Architects
  • Janet Edmond, National Churches Trust
  • John Goodall, Country Life
  • Ros Kerslake OBE, Chief Executive, Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Oliver Caroe and Suzi Pendlebury, Caroe Architecture
  • Dr Joseph Elders, ChurchCare
  • Fr. Henry Everett, St Mary Magdalene, Paddington, London
  • Toby Gale, Paddington Development Trust
  • Catherine Townsend, National Churches Trust
  • Nigel Mills, National Churches Trust
  • Verity Relph, National Churches Trust
  • Claire Walker, CEO National Churches Trust
  • Alastair Hunter, Trustee, National Churches Trust