Church exploring with our camera

In this special blog post from one of our Friends, Ros Patrick described the joy she and her husband get from exploring and photographing local churches.

My husband and I moved to England from Australia six years ago. One of the first things we noticed was the beauty of the countryside and the next was the incredible age of so many buildings. We live in Wales so we’re in the perfect place for both.

Within thirty to forty miles of our home we have so far visited over 160 churches and we have found it’s a wonderful hobby to photograph them and read their history. This includes finding them in the first place as many are quite isolated and up narrow country lanes. We’ve walked to quite a few for the last mile or so as driving on a road barely wide enough for one tractor is a bit nerve-wracking.

Whole villages must have disappeared as the size of the church is completely out of proportion to the size of the hamlet where it is. Other churches have been surrounded by buildings and parking can be difficult.

As we’re in the Welsh Marches a lot of the history is pretty bloodthirsty, and some families have a sad reminder in the graveyards of the members who died in battles.

We have been lucky as we only rarely find churches which are locked – I feel we should give a special thankyou to the men and women who must open and lock them each day. Some of the locks require a very large and ancient key.

We have found several churches which have workmen doing repairs and maintenance and it must be very expensive to keep such old buildings in a good condition. We have met a lot of people who enjoy their beauty and history and I hope will do so for many years.

You can explore some of Ros’s beautiufl photographs in their flickr photostream.

New glass artwork will reduce draughts at St John’s Church, Silverdale, Lancashire

John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley, is to lead a Service of Dedication on Sunday 16 February (10.15) to the new artwork “Revelation” in St Johns Church, Silverdale, designed and created by glass artist Sarah Galloway.

Sarah Galloway St Johns Siverdale

Sarah Galloway St Johns Siverdale

The St John’s PCC commissioned the artwork because the church’s tall west Tower was susceptible to draughts. The purpose of the new glass screen is to decrease the volume of air within the church so as to improve comfort levels for users. After The Friends of St John began fundraising, in 2011 architects Blackett-Ord Conservation Architecture, based in Appleby-in-Westmorland, commenced on site research and monitoring. A temporary plastic screen was installed in order to carry out airflow modelling exercises and the extensive experiments undertaken by the architects indicated that a glazed screen would make both a significant contribution to thermal comfort within the church whilst reducing heating costs.

When designing the 6m x 2.5m glass screen Sarah Galloway was inspired by themes relating to Genesis, whilst also referencing the local countryside in a semi-abstractive manner. Exploring Revelation 21:1 and the “.. water of the river of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the thrown of God and either side of the river, the tree of life…” Sarah has interpreted these words as a border: the layout of the work concentrates tree and water motives around the edge and bottom of the glazing, expressing the design using deep sandblasting to create lines of texture on both sides of the toughened 15mm glass.

After the many months of planning and the complexities involved installing the artwork, the Vicar of St Johns, Canon Paul Warren, is very pleased with the end results. “Sarah’s artwork looks splendid. I’ve found it fascinating to observe the design in different lights and at different times of day. There’s often something new to discovered”.

Glass artworks
Artist Sarah Galloway has designed and created many glass artworks across the UK. Working from her studio in Pilling, Lancashire, Sarah creates glass artworks for both religious and secular buildings. In recent years she has designed and made the windows for Sunfields Methodist Church in Blackheath and West Leigh Baptist Church in Essex as well as creating glass artworks for Blackburn town centre and Blackpool Victoria Hospital. She has made artworks for clients including Sunseeker International Yachts based in Poole, Dorset and The Daffodils Hotel and Spa, Grasmere, Cumbria.

Recently in the headlines after the public showing in Lancaster of the Silverdale Hoard, one of the largest collections of Viking silver ever found in Britain unearthed in 2011, Silverdale is a picturesque village nestling on the shores of Morecambe Bay on the Lancashire-Cumbria border. At the heart of the community, St John’s Church is lively and well used. Completed in 1856 the Grade 2 listed church was designed by prominent Manchester architects Ball and Elce, who produced some of the most innovative buildings of the time and who worked closely with the sculptor J.J. Millson who carved the statue of St John the Evangelist beneath the church’s imposing Tower. Designed in the decorative style, the stained glass in the West window is by Shrigley and Hunt of Lancaster, whilst either side two modern windows by Linda Watson, “The Creation” (2006) and “The Resurrection” also by Shrigley and Hunt and dedicated in 1972 add to the glass scheme.

For more information contact:
Alan Morris (Sarah Galloway Glass) m: 07831 130 633 w: 01253 799104
info@sarahgallowayassociates.co.uk
http://www.sarahgallowayassociates.co.uk

Keeping churches and memories alive at Christmas

Canon Roger Royle

Canon Roger Royle

By Revd Canon Roger Royle

If you are anything like me, memories are a very important part of Christmas. Some may be painful or sad but hopefully the vast majority will be warm, funny and strengthening.

As a child Christmas couldn’t come quick enough. But my mother made me wait. She took me to a church where carols weren’t sung in Advent. At home decorations didn’t go up until Christmas Eve and the Baby wasn’t put into the crib until we came back from Midnight Mass. This all added to the memories, the mystery and the magic of my childhood Christmas in Wales.

Memories also came flooding back to many of the people who, as part of our Diamond Jubilee celebrations chose their favourite church as part of ‘The UK’s Favourite Churches‘ initiative.

St Martin-in-the-Fields

St Martin-in-the-Fields

I wasn’t surprised that Campbell Robb, the Chief Executive of Shelter chose St Martin in the Fields. Here is a church that very definitely practices what it preaches. It was out of the work that St Martin’s did and still does for the homeless that Shelter was born. This Christmas I expect the demands on both Shelter and St Martin’s will be as great as ever.

A delightful memory

Camila Batmanghelidjh (provided by PA, no stated copyright)If ever there is someone who is a kid at heart it’s Camila Batmanghalidjh, the colourful founder and director of Kids Company. Her favourite church is one I also love and have often worshipped in, Sherborne Abbey. In choosing that church Camila had a delightful memory. When she was at boarding school she used to hide in a cupboard so she didn’t have to go to church.

The late Rosalind Runcie, whose husband was Archbishop of Canterbury said once that too much religion made her go pop. Well that certainly isn’t true of a good friend of mine, Gloria Hunniford. In selecting her favourite church she chose one to which as a child, she went five times a Sunday, St Mark’s Portadown. It was also the church where her daughter Caron, who died of cancer, was christened. So, for her, St Mark’s will bring back sadness as well as joy.

Keeping churches alive

May I wish you many happy memories this Christmas and again thank the many Friends and supporters of the National Churches Trust for all that they do. It is through their support that many of the churches people remember with affection from the past are kept alive today.

Roger Royle presents the Christmas Day early morning programme on BBC Radio 2 

If you would like to support the work of the National Churches Trust, please visit our website.

What a difference a year makes…

From:

To:

Yorkshire, HUDDERSFIELD, St Peter (Sarah Crossland 2013) #018

I’m humming Dinah Washington whilst reflecting that one of the many really lovely parts of my job is that I get to go out and about and visit churches. Most of the time this because they have applied for a grant, so I don’t always see their best side… however, when I get to go back and see just what a difference our funding has made it’s truly worthwhile.

Last week I went back to see Huddersfield St Peter and met with the Vicar, a very happy Revd Simon Moor.

2011

When I first visited this impressive Victorian town centre church in 2011 it was in dire need of major works to parts of the roof and to stonework along the north and east walls. The two vestry roofs needed re-slating and new leadwork, and internal drainage needed replacing to prevent the considerable water ingress which was taking place. Stonework was in dire need of repair and replacement, including to windows (mullions and hoods) and walls, and two pinnacles on the east door were leaning considerably. Also, the whole east end needed re-pointing to remove concrete and other harmful mortar.

In 2012 we awarded the church a £40,000 Cornerstone Grant to complete the major repairs to the fabric of the building to safeguard it for the future. This grant was only made possible by the support we in turn receive from Friends, donors and trusts and foundations.

2013

This month I visited again and was delighted to see the extent and quality of the work undertaken to repair the fabric of the building, particularly to the roofs and stonework of the vestries and the east end.

The church members have a long term vision for their building and its place in the town.  They have plans for making the space open and accessible, and for encouraging use of the building by a wide range of groups and individuals. Having completed this major phase of repairs, they are now able to for more activities and events, and be sure that the fabric will sustain them for many years to come.

The church is continuing to fundraise for further repair projects, including more repairs to stonework, if you would like to find out more please visit their website.

For more information about becoming a Friend of the National Churches Trust, and helping to save and secure churches like Huddersfield St Peter please download our membership leaflet.

Advice for a new churchwarden…

The best known new churchwarden in the country is in at the deep-end, raising money for the church roof.

Dot Branning Churchwarden

Dot Branning, newly appointed churchwarden of the church on Eastenders, has a lot in common with her real-life counterparts in feeling a small amount of panic in facing this daunting task.

Within the Anglican church, of which Dot is part, churchwardens are often legally responsible for all the property and movable goods belonging to a parish church. The realisation that they are responsible for a the daily upkeep of a major community space, together with the possibility of having to do major work to a building of significant heritage value can make the job seem very daunting.

However, help is at hand.

In an email to Dot last week, I detailed the support and advice we can give to churchwardens (and of course their counterparts within other denominations, and indeed anyone involved in caring for a place of worship).

It might be that Dot needs help with finding funding for the roof, or project managing the work to be done. She might want to set up a Friends Group or (somewhat ironically) encourage TV&film use of her church. Or she might need technical advice on caring for and maintaining an old building, or adapting it for community use.

All of these subjects are within the remit of my role as National Support Officer. So if, like Dot, you would like some advice please email me on sarah@nationalchurchestrust.org

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Over the years the Eastenders crew have filmed at a number of churches in and around London (mostly around Watford). Most recent, was a church in Hertfordshire, where the funeral of Derek Branning was filmed. You can see pictures from the filming here.

You can watch the episode where Dot becomes churchwarden here.

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