Conference discusses future of Catholic church buildings

Published: Friday, May 20, 2011


The 2011 annual conference of the Historic Churches Committees, organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, took place at Brentwood Cathedral on 19 May.

This was particularly appropriate as the Rt Rev Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood – who is Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Patrimony Committee and a Vice-President of the National Churches Trust - will be retiring this year. He treated delegates to an interesting insight to the building of the Cathedral, as well and leading the tour with the building’s architect, Quinlan Terry.

The conference provides an opportunity for the regional Historic Churches Committees to come together, along with funders for church buildings (the National Churches Trust and the Pilgrim Trust were both in attendance) and those caring for redundant buildings.

The conference focussed particularly upon individual case studies, including the case of Ss Peter and Paul, New Brighton, to illustrate the need for close consultation with local communities when deciding the future of churches. A strong message was also delivered for the need for Catholic churches to apply to funders, to allow them to offer a greater level of support than historically seen. This is a sentiment with which we agree, and we welcome applications for eligible projects for all Christian denominations which are members of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. See our grants page for more details.

We also wish to congratulate Sophie Andreae, Vice Chair of the Patrimony Committee, who received the Papal award of Dame of St Gregory at the conference