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Home  >  News  >  Debate on Future of Church Buildings Launched


Debate on Future of Church Buildings Launched

Thursday November 4 2021

The National Churches Trust has launched a nationwide debate looking at the future of the UK’s church buildings.

With an increasing number of churches and chapels facing closure, the debate highlights the community, economic, heritage and spiritual benefits of churches. It also gives individuals and church organisations the chance to have a say on how these buildings can be saved for future generations.

Launching the debate and consultation, the Trust has put together a ‘church buildings manifesto’ in which leading figures from around the UK make the case for their future, highlighting their value not only as places for worship and reflection but for building stronger communities, heritage and tourism.

The manifesto shows that the number of church buildings open and used for worship has declined from around 42,000 to 39,800 in the last 10 years, with the cost of repairs a major factor. However, the repair bill is vastly outweighed by the economic and social benefits of keeping the buildings open.

Among the articles in the manifesto is one by Stuart Beattie, the director of Scotland’s Churches Trust, who writes that ‘Scotland’s religious history and its geography pose some unique challenges’. He warns that there are signs in the Church of ‘an anti-building complex’ and says that the question of buildings should be separated from the question of ministers; and for greater devolution to local congregations of decisions about buildings.

The Future of the UK’s Church Buildings debate is backed by Michael Palin, Vice President of the National Churches Trust. He said: “The UK has over 39,000 church buildings. The restrictions of Covid-19, resulting in reduced funding and fewer worshippers, has clouded the future for many of them. Yet churches remain a vital and much-loved part of the UK’s history and heritage and we can’t let them fall into neglect and disuse.

“If you care as much as I do about the future of these much-loved buildings, do get involved with the debate and help shape their future.”

You can download the manifesto, read the articles and respond to the consultation at 


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