The National Churches Trust’s work includes promoting awareness of churches as some of the UK’s most important and best loved buildings and of the need for continuing funding to keep them in good repair for future generations. Recent initiatives include:
50 Things to do in a Church
In 2016, '50 Things to do in a Church’ celebrated the many and diverse uses of church buildings and asks the public to share their favourite things to do in a church or chapel.
50 Things to do in a Church’ highlighted some of the activities and events that take place in and around church buildings and the many different ways that people use and experience churches and chapels. You can see photos of all the ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ on our 50 Things photo gallery
As well as being places of worship, church buildings play a vital role in activities for the benefit of the wider community. It is estimated that nearly 90% of churches are used for community purposes as well as for regular worship.
Included in ‘50 Things to do in a Church’ are activities and things to see and do linked to music and the arts, the spiritual, helping the community, art and architecture, food and drink, history, nature and wildlife, and sport and leisure.
Save our Spires
In 2015, a ‘Save our Spires’ appeal highlighted the plight of crumbling church spires around the UK, many of which are in need of urgent repair.
An analysis by the National Churches Trust of Historic England’s 2015 ‘Heritage At Risk Register’ showed that 40 listed parish churches required urgent repair work to their spires. You can see the churches at risk on our online map.
Damage to parish church spires included:
• Stone decay and deterioration
• Rusting to iron cramps used in Victorian spires to hold masonry together
• Woodpecker damage to wooden spires
• High winds and heavy rain leading to weakened spires
The UK's Favourite Churches
Inn 2013, as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, the National Churches Trust revealed some of ‘The UK’s Favourite Churches’, as chosen by 60 top people from the world of politics, entertainment, journalism and academia.
Politicians including David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Boris Johnson, Alex Salmond and Nigel Farage have put forward their choice of favourite church.
Alex Polizzi, Mary Berry, Cherie Blair, Brian Blessed, Alain de Botton Hugh Dennis, Huw Edwards, Bear Grylls, Eamonn Holmes, Joanna Lumley, Michael Palin, Patrick Stewart and Terry Wogan are amongst the well-known public figures choosing their favourite church.
Church leaders choosing their favourite church include Dr Rowan Williams, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster.
From the charity sector choices include those of Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter and Julia Hanmer, Chief Executive of the Bat Conservation Trust.
The UK's Best Modern Churches
St Paul’s Church in Bow Common, east London, known locally as ‘The Gate of Heaven’ was chosen as ‘The UK’s Best Modern Church’ in an architecture competition organised in 2013 by the National Churches Trust in association with the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the 20th Century Society.
Over 200 churches were nominated for the competition by the public, parishes and architects. It was open to church buildings or significant extensions to an existing building from any Christian denomination in the United Kingdom which opened for worship after 1 January 1953.
From a shortlist of 24 churches, judges selected The UK’s Top 10 Best Modern Churches.