In a recent article in the Catholic Herald this was said about listed buildings:
In England as a whole, there are 12,200 listed Anglican churches and 629 listed Catholic churches. Compare this to the National Trust, which owns 500 listed buildings, and English Heritage, which has 400. The income from the National Trust is £650 million a year with five million members.
How can we possible manage this? Clergy and laity alike are spending too much time and energy keep the roof on. It isn’t the reason why most clergy were ordained, very few thrive in this environment, some do – they can find creative uses for the buildings, but most find it depressing.
Clergy hate the idea of closing churches, but in some dioceses I wonder whether the number of listed buildings that take huge amounts of energy needs reviewing? Can we do something as dioceses that takes some of the burden away? Ideas include selling off the parish rooms and instead using the church for events, using the church building for a preschool or nursery, getting Wi-Fi masts in the spires…. What do you think? Winchester Diocese have been working on a project getting high quality preschools into parishes, and because the work has been done centrally the correct expertise has been found and applied. Doing this high quality work in a small parish would be practically impossible. Are there other good examples of how we can cope with all our ancient buildings?