Working collaboratively to secure sustainable futures for church buildings: a trial in four Clusters across rural Northumberland
Church buildings have stood at the heart of our rural communities for centuries, shaping the villages themselves and serving the communities living in these landscapes. As populations, work and lifestyles have shifted, and (particularly since the pandemic) the ways we worship have developed, what people need from our church buildings has changed. Rural Churches for Everyone has collated recommendations from recent research and consolidated it into a Sustainability Planning process to support the clergy, PCCs and volunteers who care for these buildings.
Until September 2022, a trial programme will run in four clusters of rural benefices, supporting them to take a strategic and collaborative approach. They will be supported to plan how their church buildings can best meet the needs of their congregations, residents, visitors, finances, heritage and Net Zero Carbon commitments.
A series of four email resources will be released on a weekly basis in February and March, enabling volunteers to work independently or with others at a time that suits them. The resources will outline the key principles underpinning the Sustainability Planning process.
This will be followed by bespoke support to create a Sustainability Plan for each Cluster from the project Development Consultant alongside ongoing training where relevant.
A conference towards the end of the project will celebrate the progress made and share key learning from the project. A toolkit will be made available on the Diocese website for wider use.
We hope to release the potential of our rural churches to serve community needs, adapt to rural change, and share the memories and stories of those who came before us
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For more information on the project contact the RCfE Project Manager Philippa Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 07884 347584
Rural Churches for Everyone is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is part of Newcastle Diocese Rural Strand, with strong connections to their Transformation Programme and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC)