Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Building Faith in our Future

The Church Heritage Forum published Building Faith in our Future in October 2004. The report focused on how church buildings contribute to the vitality of communities and sought to promote partnerships to sustain and develop these roles.

We are now working to drive these objectives by promoting a national campaign which will target decision-makers in Government and other relevant audiences. This is the third e-bulletin since the publication of Building Faith in our Future and it sets out developments to date and asks how you can help as we move the campaign forward

The Building Faith Campaign Messages:

The Building Faith Campaign has three simple messages:

Churches matter and deserve support
Without support they are at risk
We are therefore seeking: better funding (50:50 partnership with the State in funding towards their repair, and a ‘level playing field’ in terms of access to other funding); and to strengthen the Church’s capacity to develop the use of its buildings for worship and mission to the wider community.

Become a Building Faith Supporter:

We need your support. Join our network of people, at national, regional and local level, within the Church and outside, to be kept informed of developments, approached directly about new initiatives and who will tell us their stories about the achievements of churches in their communities, and spread the word themselves within their locals and regional contacts

To register as a Building Faith Supporter and receive copies of the Building Faith in our Future e-bulletin, please contact: Rebecca Payne at:

Phone: 020 7898 1886
Address: Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3NZ
Download copies of the Building Faith in our Future report, latest Key Facts and other information about the Building Faith Campaign from:

Major News Items:


Discussion: General Synod debate
Further research : ORB survey 2005 results
VAT – Stop Press!
Liaison with Government Departments
Liaison with Other Partners
Request for Good Examples

1. Discussion

The February Sessions of Church of England General Synod, included a debate on the Church’s Built Heritage. The motion supported the recommendations of Building Faith in our Future and, encouraged the Church Heritage Forum to take them forward, working closely with parishes, dioceses, and others, and also called for increased public funding and the continuance of the Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme.

The Bishop of London, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres led the debate and announced the start of the campaign:

“We need a campaigning spirit sufficient to rouse the sleeping giant that is the Church of England to see the many opportunities our buildings offer to re-connect with the people of England for the sake of God. This is of course a campaign which we wage in partnership with all those in other parts of the Christian Church and indeed those in other faiths who have the care of places of worship, who struggle with their upkeep and strive to deliver their full potential to our life together as a community”.

The subsequent debate overwhelmingly supported the campaign. Many Synod members took the opportunity to present their stories of how dioceses and parishes are responding to the opportunities and challenges presented by church buildings.

The motion was unanimously carried. DCMS and the other relevant Government Departments have been advised of the Synod’s call for greater funding.

2. Further research

The ORB national telephone survey previously run in October 2003, was run again in November 2005, again commissioned by the Church of England and English Heritage. The results revealed that:

‘nearly’ nine out of ten adults (86% of the population) in Great Britain had been into a church building for one purpose or another within the past 12 months, confirming the levels recorded in 2003.

Among Christians this figure was 91%, among those of no religious persuasion it was 75% and among those from non-Christian religions it was 73%.

Many had been for several different purposes including finding a quiet space, weddings, baptisms and funerals and for community purposes, as well as for regular services of worship. Several reasons showed a marked increase on the figures recorded in 2003:


20%said they had entered a church ‘to seek a quiet space’
23% said they were walking past and ‘felt the need to go in’
23% had been to a church through their children’s school
30% had been to a church for a concert or theatrical performance
38% for a social or community event

The survey also found that six out of every ten people questioned believe a place of worship makes their neighbourhood a better place to live:

58% agreed with the statement ‘places of worship make our neighbourhood a better place to live’ while11% disagreed.
72% agreed with the statement ‘a place of worship is an important part of the local community’ while 11% disagreed.
72% agreed with the statement ‘places of worship provide valuable social and community facilities’ while 11% disagreed.
Among respondents who claimed no religious allegiance, 38%, 46% and 56%, respectively, agreed with the statements.

“These responses show that churches, far from being museum pieces, are living breathing communities reaching out to churchgoers and non-churchgoers, central to their neighbourhoods and making possible much needed and welcomed local facilities of all kinds,” said the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London and Chair of the Church Heritage Forum.

For the full results go to for summary for detailed results on why 86% of people visited a place of worship last year. for detailed results on how much people value places of worship

3. VAT

As announced in the Budget on 22 March, the Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme and the Memorials VAT Refund Scheme have both been extended for a three further years until 2010-11. Both schemes will now also cover the VAT costs incurred on professional fees and include fixtures and fittings for listed places of worship, such as bells, pews, clocks and organs.

Under the Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme, almost £32 million has been awarded in grants up to the end of June 2005 throughout the United Kingdom. Up until 28 February 2006, £33.47 million was paid to listed places of worship in England, an estimated 89% of them Anglican churches.

4. Government Departments

1. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has just launched a new information website for rural community buildings. Though the title is rural, the information may also apply to urban situations.

Go to:

They are happy to receive any ideas, links etc which they may not be aware of. DEFRA is also funding a research project on “Funding for rural community buildings”.

5. Other Partners

The Churches Tourism Association is holding its annual national convention from 20 – 22 November. This year the theme is “Experiencing Sacred Britain” which will be explored by presenting, exhibiting and debating ideas, initiatives, research and practical experiences that help to inform overall policy and that can be further developed into local operational activity in churches and at other sacred sites nationwide in order to provide an ever more inviting and memorable welcome for all tourism visitors. A further key focus of the event is the formal launch of the newly developed National Marketing Strategy for Church Tourism, ‘Experience Sacred Britain’ – currently under development with Visit Britain and a range of church and civic groups. This convention should be of interest to both church tourism practitioners both of regional projects and individual churches and also representatives of the tourism industry who want to help develop the potential of these buildings for tourism.

If you are interested please email:, or contact:
CTA Annual Convention 2006, The Churches Conservation Trust
1 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9EE

6. Good Examples Please!

As part of overhauling the website, we want to include some innovative and imaginative projects where churches are enhancing the community uses of their buildings, whether by well-designed physical adaptation of the church building and/or outreach into the wider community. We would greatly welcome local examples for possible inclusion on the site. These can include examples from any of the areas covered in Building Faith in our Future (cultural activities, voluntary and community activities, in rural and urban areas, education, tourism as well as innovative funding ideas). Please send your stories to Becky Payne along with a contact name for the project and/or a website link as soon as you can.

Cathedral and Church Buildings Division
March 2006


A 2005 survey showed that 86% of the population had visited a church building or place of worship in the previous twelve months, for reasons ranging from participating in worship to attending concerts or simply wanting a quiet space. This confirmed the levels recorded in 2003.
The 2005 survey showed that 38% of the population think the central taxation, local taxation, the National Lottery or English Heritage are primarily responsible for funding maintenance of church buildings. Asked who should be primarily responsible, the respondents naming those four sources rose to 46%. (ORB 2005)
45% of the country’s Grade I listed buildings are maintained by the Church of England. These churches and cathedrals are largely supported by the efforts and financial support of local communities. Often, they are the focus of community life and service.
In total, some 12,200 of the Church of England’s 16,200 buildings are listed by the government as being of special architectural or historic interest.
Three cathedrals are World Heritage Sites: Durham Castle and Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey & St Martin’s Church, and Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.
Every year, around 12.5 million people visit Church of England cathedrals, including 300,000 pupils on school visits. Three of England’s top five historic ‘visitor attractions’ are York Minister, Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
In 2003, the Church of England parishes spent nearly £101 million on major church repairs. In answer to a question included as part of the annual Parish Returns, returns completed by the parishes themselves indicated that the repairs still needed to their churches came to a minimum of £373.8 million of which £323.1 million (87%) was for listed churches. In the same year, the major sources of funding came to less than 40%. Therefore, 60% was raised by local fund-raising.
English Heritage grants have effectively remained static since 1995. Had English Heritage been able to maintain its contribution to church repairs in real terms at its highest level of 1995 (when £14 million was offered in grant), it would now be offering £19.5 million rather than its current average contribution of £10 million per annum.

Church of England churches along with other faith groups make a huge contribution to social action in their local communities. Within all the nine English Regions, surveys have been carried out to map the size and range of this contribution. A 2005 study of the economic impact of faith communities produced on behalf of the Northwest Regional Development Agency estimated that faith communities in the Northwest generate £94.9 million. This is made up of the estimated economic value of 45,667 faith volunteers contributing c.8.1 million hours of social and health care and working in regeneration initiatives (equivalent to 4,815 FTE jobs) applying a wage rate of £7.50 per hour, premises made available by faith groups for use of local community groups, and day visitor expenditure generated by faith tourism which also supported 215 FTE jobs.

Church buildings in particular are a valuable resource to their communities. The Northwest 2005 study estimated that the 1,385 premises made available to local communities by faith communities in the Northwest generated £811,472 per annum. A 2004 survey carried out in Brighton and Hove found that out of the 55 community buildings identified by the survey as essential to the provision of over 300 community projects and services offered by faith communities, 47 were church buildings and halls provided by the churches themselves.

A survey commissioned by the Association of English Cathedrals and English Heritage found that visitors to cathedrals generate £91million in spend per annum and directly support 2600 jobs. This increases to £150 million in spend in the local economies within which they are located if it includes their procurement spend, their impact on visitor spend and associated multiplier effects. From 2005 to 2007/8 they will receive only £1 million per annum in repair grants – but currently spend £11 million annually on repairs and maintenance.

Although, there has not yet been any research to determine the benefits to local economies of visitors to parish churches, we are seeing that initiatives set up to promote church tourism do have a positive effect on numbers of visitors. The North Yorkshire Church Tourism initiative ran for three years and in that time increased the number of annual visitors to the 285 participating places of worship by 120%. Total number of visitors recorded for the year 2004/5 was 203,952.

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