How best to sustain and support chapels and churches in Wales was the focus of a meeting attended by representatives of all the main Christian denominations and Welsh heritage organisations held in Cardiff on Friday 21 September.
Chaired by Lord Davies of Abersoch and jointly organised by the National Churches Trust and the Church in Wales, the meeting considered possible new means of assisting places of worship in Wales.
There are an estimated 4,500 churches and chapels in Wales. Around 45% of these are listed due to their historical and architectural significance. The job of raising money and finding volunteers to care for places of worship is becoming harder and so new ways of supporting these important buildings may be needed.
Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:
"With funding for maintaining places of worship likely to remain scarce, it is important that effective ways are found to support the religious built heritage of Wales. Furthermore, the challenge for places of worship is not just financial. Many are looked after by volunteers and they often need access to training and advice on how to care for these buildings."
"It is welcome that there was such positive engagement at the meeting with these issues and how best to support places of worship. The next step will be for these key organisations and representatives to consider the ideas discussed and issues raised with a view to identifying the next practical steps forward."
Alex Glanville, Head of Property Services for the Church in Wales, said:
"Chapels and churches in Wales are an essential part of Welsh culture and heritage. I am convinced we need to find new and imaginative ways of engaging with the public to support them in the future."
"This gathering of people across the sector was an excellent way of exploring possibilities and ideas and I am very grateful to those attending for sharing their experience to help develop new solutions."
Representatives of the following organisations attended the meeting which was held at St John’s Church, Canton, Cardiff on Friday 21 September
Baptist Union of Wales
Capital Region Tourism
Church in Wales
Churches Tourism Network Wales
Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust
Friends of Friendless Churches
Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Heritage Lottery Fund
Historic Churches Committee for Wales & Herefordshire
Historic Churches Liaison Group
Historic Religious Buildings Alliance
National Churches Trust
One Voice Wales
Patrimony Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Presbyterian Church of Wales
Prince's Regeneration Trust
Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historic Monuments of Wales
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
Union of Welsh Independents
United Reformed Church
National Synod of Wales
Wales Methodist Synod
Welsh Religious Buildings Trust
The Church in Wales is an independent Province within the worldwide Anglican Church and the largest Christian denomination in Wales. It has more than 1,400 places of worship, two-thirds of which are listed buildings.