Mission, Ministry and Masonry: The Challenge of Heritage Buildings for Christian Witness
|Graeme Knowles a1
a1 Bishop of Sodor and Man, Chairman, Council for the Care of Churches
While it might be said that the present state of repair of the majority of the churches in use in England is better than it has ever been before, the congregations of England, whether they be Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist or Baptist, face the day by day challenge of maintaining a substantial section of the nation's built heritage. The 2006 Lyndwood Lecture, delivered at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on 15 November 2006, examines possible avenues for the funding of this work, looking at the models of state aid offered by other European countries. It also considers the tension that exists between the legal imperative to view our churches not only as historic monuments but also as local centres of mission and worship. Moving on from this theme of funding, the lecture then examines the problems faced by all denominations in disposing of buildings no longer required for divine worship. It questions why the Church should continue to pay for the upkeep of buildings it no longer needs, and concludes, in the words of T S Eliot, that the Church must be forever building.