Rural Church Buildings

How to look after, develop and utilise them

Resources for getting the most out of your rural church building

This comprehensive information hub is for congregations and others who have responsibility for looking after a rural church building. There is advice on building issues such as to how to look after the fabric of your building and the fixtures and fittings, undertaking effective and essential maintenance, how to prevent metal theft and how to make your building as energy efficient as possible. Security, health and safety and opening up your church buildings for visitors are also covered. There is also advice on how to open up your building for wider community use and all aspects of fundraising including setting a budget, devising a fundraising strategy and completing application forms.

Rural church buildings are a major concern for all congregations, but can your building become a blessing rather than a burden? How can you maximise its potential as a tool for mission and no longer see it as a money-pit? This free the Arthur Rank Centre resource provides you with a wealth of ideas on how to use your church building creatively. It covers opening up your church to visitors and developing ways to share the space with your local community. It will help you work through identifying a project and determining whether it is viable. If it involves adapting your building, it describes the processes through which this can be achieved in your historic, and often listed buildings, as well as how to ensure that the liturgical requirements of being a place of worship are balanced with community use. After all the overall aim is to create a sustainable future for your place of worship.

Click on the green links below to access each section of the resource. Each section page includes a full list of content at the bottom of the page so you can easily find your way around the whole resource.

While we do our best to ensure that all the advice in this resource is correct, we cannot guarantee that links to external websites are kept up to date.


CLICK: Introduction

Overall purpose of this resource

Setting the context: Wendy Coombey (Community Partnership and Funding Officer, Diocese of Hereford)

How to use this resource

Useful websites

CLICK: 1. Looking after your building and its contents

1.1 Maintenance

1.2 Care of internal fixtures and fittings

CLICK: 2. Undertaking repairs and/or making changes to your church building

2.1 Statements of Significance and Need

2.2 Seeking permission under Ecclesiastical Exemption

2.3 Non-Exempted Denominations

2.4 Secular Statutory Controls

CLICK: 3. Repairing the building’s fabric

3.1 Quinquennial Inspections

3.2 Carrying out repairs including appointment of professional advisers

3.3 Where to find accredited professionals

3.4 Chancel Repair Liability (Church of England only)

3.5 Insurance and Regulations relating to Building Works

3.6 Archaeology

3.7 Funding for Repairs

CLICK: 4. Churchyards

CLICK: 5. Funding and Fundraising

CLICK: 6. Setting up a Friends Group

CLICK: 7. Getting the Most Out of Your Church Building/s

7.1 Re-Ordering your Building for Liturgical Reasons

7.2 Making changes to your building to enable wider community use

CLICK: 8. Opening up your Place of Worship

8.1 Making your building accessible

8.2 Security

8.3 Health and Safety

8.3.1 First it is about keeping your own people safe

8.3.2 Secondly, it is about ensuring your visitors are kept safe

8.4 Welcoming Visitors

8.4.1 Promoting your church

8.4.2 What are your visitors going to find?

CLICK: 9. Education and Working with Schools

CLICK: 10. Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

CLICK: 11. Guidance on Introducing New Art Work

CLICK: 12. Other Building Issues

12.1 Security

12.2 Metal Theft

12.3 Bats

12.4 Insurance

12.5 Other regulations that affect buildings

  1. Asbestos
  2. Electrical Inspections and Testing
  3. Fire precautions
  4. Health and Safety
  5. Health and Safety Risk Assessments
  6. Working at Height

CLICK: 13. Other Resources