Don’t Get Burnt

by Gerry Lynch last modified 25 May, 2016 05:17 PM

Video by Loyd Grossman provides advice on how to avoid church arson

The UK’s leading church insurer, Ecclesiastical Insurance is warning churches to take measures to deter arson. In severe fires, rebuilding can take several years causing major disruption to churches and community users such as playgroups and charities who use the facilities - yet the threat of arson can be reduced by taking some simple, practical actions.

Ecclesiastical dealt with 129 claims for arson related incidents in churches between 2010 and 2015. The impact of arson is devastating and can rob a church and the community of its history and heritage in a matter of hours. It leaves the congregation without their place of worship and many community users such as playgroups and local charities without a space to meet and carry out their activities. Ecclesiastical has produced a short video to highlight the impact of arson on churches. Presented by Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust, Loyd Grossman OBE, and was filmed on location at St James the Less, Pimlico, it features some practical tips that churches and their local communities can undertake to reduce the risk of arson.

The video was made following an attack on the Grade II*-listed All Saints Church in Fleet, Hampshire, which suffered devastating damage from an arson fire in June 2015.

Michael Angell, Church Operations Director for Ecclesiastical, commented: “Churches can take many years to restore following an arson attack, which deprives a church and the community of their natural place of worship together with vital space and resource. It would be wrong to think that it is just bricks and mortar that is destroyed, although that in itself is devastating. Church records and original artefacts are often kept on site, so communities can also lose local history, unique objects and ancient records. We hope that Parochial Church Councils will adopt our simple and practical actions to help reduce the frequency and impact of arson attacks, which can be both expensive and traumatic for all concerned.”

Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust, said: “Thankfully arson in churches is rare, but when it does happen, it can cause huge losses. Fire takes hold very quickly and can gut a building in a matter of hours. Churches are community led spaces. Loss of space often means loss of sense of community.”

Ecclesiastical is urging people to share this video and help ensure that these beautiful buildings continue to be around to inspire and serve future generations.

The video and further help and advice can be found at: www.ecclesiastical.com/churcharson

Document Actions