In November 2021, with the support of Sir Michael Palin, we started a national debate to help safeguard the future of the UK's church buildings.
With contributions from leading writers, heritage experts and clergy we published 'The Future of the UK's Church Buildings' report which highlights the community, economic, heritage and spiritual benefits of churches.
Sir Michael Palin, who is our Vice President said:
"The UK has over 39,000 church buildings. The restrictions of COVID-19, resulting in reduced funding and fewer worshippers, has clouded the future for many of them. Yet churches remain a vital and much loved part of the UK's history and heritage and we can't let them fall into neglect and disuse. If you care as much as I do about the future of these much loved buildings, do get involved with the National Churches Trust debate about 'The Future of Churches' and help shape their future."
Keeping churches open and in use
You can read our report about 'The Future of the UK's Church Buildings' from the link below. It includes a range of informative and stimulating articles about why churches matter and how they can be kept open and in use. Contributors include Harry Mount, Editor of The Oldie magazine, Rev Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James's church in central London and Andrew Stokes, Director of Visit England.
If you'd like us to send you a copy of the report, please contact us.
What the public think about church buildings
We asked the public to tell us what they think matters about church buildings in a special 'The Future of the UK's Church Buildings' online consultation.
We published the results of the consultation in April 2022.
One of the main findings is that the overwhelming majority of people think that churches are still needed, despite the growth of digital worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being together with other people was one reason why church buildings were preferred to online services, as a response to the consultation made clear.
To find out more, you can download a detailed analysis of what people told us about church buildings.
Watch our videos
We've got some great videos to watch with people telling us why they think church buildings matter and have a future.
We are working hard to keep churches open and in use.
A £3.5 million investment in our grants scheme by the Government's Heritage Stimulus Fund in 2021-22 is making it possible for us fund urgent repairs to 32 historic churches and meeting houses. That means that they are safe for the future and is a great example of how our wortk keeps churches open and in good repair.
The number of churches open and being used for worship has fallen from around 42,000 to 39,800 in the last ten years.
A shortage of funding to keep churches in good repair is a key factor leading to closure. Latest figures show that the Church of England will have to find £1billion to fund repairs to its 16,000 parish churches in the next five years.
Funding for the repair and maintenance of church buildings has to be found by congregations as is it not provided by central church authorities. This is particularly difficult for churches in deprived areas or for rural churches with few worshippers.