The National Churches Trust has launched a campaign to highlight the importance of churches to local people and communities. The campaign, entitled “50 Things to do in a Church” celebrates the many and diverse ways church buildings are used, and asks the public to share their favourite things to do in a church or chapel.
Writer and performer Michael Palin is Vice-President of the National Churches Trust. In a video to launch the campaign he describes how during a lunch break while being cross-questioned in a court case in Central London, he discovered the church of St Dunstan-in-the West. He says: "I was never so grateful for a place of repose, an oasis of peace and quiet in the midst of the mayhem."
It is estimated that nearly 90% of churches are used for community purposes as well as for regular worship. The list of “50 Things” includes activities linked to music and the arts, the spiritual, helping the community, art and architecture, food and drink, history, nature and wildlife, and sport and leisure.
Some of the listed activities are:
- Watch the bats
- Ring the bells
- Volunteer at a night shelter
- Enjoy a beer festival
- Research your family history
The Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said: “The use of church buildings as ‘community hubs’ has the strong support of the public.”
“Of course, keeping churches open and in good repair, and with the right community facilities to allow them to be of benefit to local people, requires funding from both public and private sources as costs are beyond the reach of most local communities.”
The Trust has published a 50 Things photo gallery. Readers can add to the list of activities and post photographs on the National Churches Trust website or by visiting their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nationalchurchestrust. ”