Unlocking your church's heritage

Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2016


The National Churches Trust welcomed delegates from churches to a conference on unlocking a church's heritage on 24 November 2016.

Attended by over 60 people, ''More than Bricks and Stones: Unlocking the potential of your church's heritage" was run jointly by St Clement's church, Notting Dale, and the National Churches Trust. Every church has a story to tell and this full-day event helped delegates to learn how to share that story with a wider audience.

The event was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, who have awarded St Clement's a grant for their roof repair project. 

The day was hosted by the Rev Alan Everett, Vicar of St Clement’s Notting Dale. Below, you can find information about the day, and download the key presentations.

1. How St Clement’s was adapted to serve its community

Dr Hugh Rayment-Pickard, formerly vicar of St Clements, was the co-founder and is now Chief Development Officer of education charity IntoUniversity. He oversaw the development project which transformed St Clement’s. Removal of the pews and a major reordering of the chancel, dividing the space, created both a flexible worship space and a series of offices and meeting rooms.

Presentation: How and why St Clement's was adapted to serve its community

2. Shaping the future of your historic church

Empowering Design Practices is a project encouraging places of worship to use community-led design. It was represented by Theodore Zamenopoulos, Senior Lecturer in Design at the Open University, and Louise Dredge, Head of Creative Engagement at The Glass House, a national charity that helps organisations to work collaboratively on the design of buildings and neighbourhoods. They spoke about engaging the congregation and the wider community, to create a vision for your church. Asking local people what your church means to them means that they invest in your project, and can help you to consider the future.

Presentation: Approaches for shaping the future of your historic church through engaging people in design

3. The ClementJames Centre

Clare Richards MBE is the Chief Executive of The ClementJames Centre. Operating out of the church, it aims to meet local needs in the very socially polarised area of North Kensington. Projects include supporting young people in their academic ambitions; English language classes for adults; and CV and job application support, particularly for isolated women.

Presentation: The ClementJames Centre programme and achievements

4. “What is heritage?”

A fascinating panel discussion asked “What is heritage?” The panel was David Garrard, Senior Lecturer in Historic Conservation at Oxford Brookes University; Adam Tyson, Policy Officer at the Heritage Lottery Fund; and Donna McDonald, Freelance Fundraiser and Project Manager. 

David Garrard opened the discussion by considering the subjective nature of heritage. As Adam Tyson said, any user of a church defines their own heritage. Donna McDonald added that your heritage goes beyond the building; it is the people and the ideas that have created your community. The panel then discussed questions that had been submitted by delegates, exploring how to make a church’s heritage meaningful to the local community.

5. The people INSIDE the building

Eleanor Stead, National Legacy and Funding Officer at the Church of England, spoke about how heritage can be part of a successful funding application. She noted that churches are significant on a personal level, because of the people that use them. People should be at the heart of a church’s application to any funder.

Presentation: Making your Case For Support: the people INSIDE the building

6. Showcasing your church’s heritage

Sarah Crossland, church tourism manager at the National Churches Trust, concluded the day with a presentation on how to use heritage to bring visitors to your church. She stressed the importance of publicity, promotion, and creating a welcoming environment. 

Presentation: Showcasing your church's heritage: social media, promotion, publicity

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