New churches, closed churches and church furnishings

by Michael Ford last modified 10 May, 2018 12:59 PM

The Diocese has been instrumental in the provision of 5 entirely new places of worship in the last 20 years.

When a church is closed for public worship the Department is responsible, through the Re-use of Closed Churches Group, for seeking and establishing an alternative use. 

The Department is responsible for finding and purchasing sites for new churches which are then leased to the PCCs to take on as a local building project with the diocese often providing grant aid. Most such buildings are multi-purpose, involving daily community use.

New uses for closed churches range from residential conversion to art galleries, community centres, craft workshops, places of worship for other denominations or simply for preservation as a monument.  There have been 85 such cases since 1970 but more recently closures have, happily, been few and far between.  The work involved is out of all proportion to the number of cases, however, as alternative use is a deeply complex and sensitive issue with widespread statutory consultation requirements.  Proposals for siting septic tanks in churchyards, and relocating tombstones for car parking are typical examples of matters requiring the utmost tact and diplomacy.

Arising out of the need to find new homes for the furniture and furnishings from closed churches, either by sale or transfer to another church in the Diocese, the Department offers a liaison service with a national network of other Dioceses and denominations for parishes seeking or disposing of second-hand furniture and furnishings.  Although much patience is required if a parish is looking for a particular item, this will often be rewarded by the discovery of the genuine article at a very reasonable price, rather than resorting to a catalogue for a modern reproduction.

Further information:

Our 'Closure of Churches' guidance leaflet is here 

The national 'Closed Churches' page is here

Main contact:

 

 

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