These web pages (see the sub-headings in the left hand column on this page) provide information and help for people caring for places of worship who are interested in developing the building to make it more comfortable for users, to improve facilities for greater community use, and/or a better welcome for visitors and tourists.
See our Support for Thriving Churches document here which offers ideas taken from local and national churches on how to make our churches as secure and sustainable as possible and to thrive into the future.
CTfC Tips on resources to look at online
Cumbria's Ecumenical Church Buildings Strategic Review
The Churches Trust for Cumbria, along with the Diocese of Carlisle, Cumbria Methodist District and the United Reformed Church are carrying out a survey of their faith buildings to understand the current position of churches and their faith communities and to offer support to enable them to thrive in the future. We would also welcome other denominations who would like to take part in the Review.
The Review has started in the deanery areas of Windermere, Penrith, Solway, Calder and Derwent. In Autum 2012 it is taking place in the remaining parts of Cumbria (around Carlisle, Brampton and Appleby areas and Furness, Barrow and Kendal areas).
The purpose of the Review is to build on the ecumenical Declaration of Intent to jointly develop mission and ministry and to use our church buildings for the benefit of Cumbria's communities so that they are an opportunity for and not a threat to mission.
Cumbria's 640 churches tell us so much about our history, as well as pointing us towards the future. Many of our places of worship are beautiful, spiritual sanctuaries. Many are ancient; steeped in the centuries-old history of our forebears whilst others are modern and eye catching. The Review is all about helping to ensure that Cumbria's faith buildings are as well cared for and as well used as possible, so that future generations can enjoy them too.
Because some churches are facing a shortage of funds and membership, they are having to look elsewhere for support such as from the wider community or by finding additional uses that help to finance the building's upkeep. Our church buildings hold a unique position in being able to provide significant outreach to others and we encourage faith groups to consider using their church buildings in different ways.
The Review begins with a questionnaire which is filled out by representatives from each church. The questionnaire is designed to encourage debate within church groups about how they currently care and use their faith building and offers suggestions for doing things slightly differently. The information you provide us will help us to target our support more effectively. For instance many churches are interested in an organized maintenance scheme, or creating a faith trail in their local area and we can help with this.
We then meet with a number of church groups together to talk about the issues relating to each of their churches. Useful suggestions and encouragement are given, such as how to reduce utility bills (one church succeeded to cut their bills by 40%) or how to encourage holiday makers into church, or how one church with a congregation of less than 5 and was facing closure grew its congregation to 40 with lots of children and a choir, thanks to their engagement with the wider community.
A number of discussions have also highlighted the over-provision of venues in some communities and the need to work together to find solutions, for instance in one town two church groups both had halls which weren't very well used but which required funds for heating, repairs, insurance etc. They recognized the benefits of working together and have decided to consider selling one hall and sharing the use of another. Again, we can help to guide these discussions.
How the Review works can be found in this booklet here.
1) A copy of the questionnaire for nothern and eastern churches can be found here (i.e. those near Carlisle, Brampton & Appleby), Deadline: 30 November 2012
2) A copy of the questionnaire for the southern churches can be found here (i.e. those near Barrow, Furness & Kendal), Deadine: 28 February 2013.
You can either save the questionnaire onto your computer, fill it out and email it to us, or print it off and send in the post. Please return your completed questionnaires to CTfC (to
or Church House, West Walls, Carlisle, CA3 8UE) by 30 November 2012 for the north and east and by 28 February 2013 for the south.
A presentation on the Review can be seen here.
Support for Thriving Churches document can be found here. This provides suggestions and ideas on where to get help to make your church thrive now and in the future. Also, we are picking up examples where churches have managed to increase the size of their congregation and these can be seen in Gowing Congregations here. Both of these documents will be updating over the course of the Review.
If you have any queries about the Review, Jemma would be happy to talk to you: 07733 88 6284.