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Useful resources

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Ely2025: People Fully Alive Diocese of Ely (2015)

A document designed to set out an agenda for growth for the Diocese of Ely over the next decade. It has been shaped using suggestions and responses from members of the diocese and shows us that change is to be adopted and embraced.

View the strategy document

View the resource manual

Taylor Review Report – Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals (2017) 

An independent review, chaired by Bernard Taylor, into the sustainability of Church of England Church and Cathedral buildings.

Sustaining Major Parish Churches: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities (2016)

Historic England Research Report. This report recognises historically significant parish church buildings with a different scale of opportunities and challenges faced compared to the vast majority of 12,267 listed Church of England church buildings. This research, funded by Historic England, provides a robust baseline of evidence based on a sample of Major Parish Churches from across the country. The report focussed on a large sample of buildings, providing both substantive evidence and individual narrative.

Social enterprise and rural places of worship in England (2017)

Research commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012, and supported by a steering group comprising Plunkett Foundation, Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England, Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre, and Newcastle University. The report illustrates examples of social enterprise researched as part of this project that had a positive impact on the long-term sustainability of the place of worship.

The UK Church in Action (2018)

Drawing from surveys of the general population, active Christians and church leaders, the report provides an eye-opening look at how UK adults view and describe faith communities. The report is based on a Barna Global study sponsored by World Vision UK.

Walter, N. And Mottram, A. (2015). Buildings for mission: A complete guide to the care, conservation and development of churches. Norwich: Canterbury Press.

This resource is a practical and comprehensive handbook to every aspect of church building care, maintenance and innovation that illustrates new ways of putting church buildings to use as open and welcoming sacred and community spaces.

Archdeacons’ Visitation News – Spring 2019 

A quarterly newsletter produced by Ecclesiastical owned by Allchurches Trust.The Spring issue is dedicated to the REACH Ely project.

Payne, B. (2014). Churches for Communities: Adapting Oxfordshire’s Churches for Wider Use. Oxford: Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust.

The book documents the changes taking place across ecclesiastical England, focusing on twenty-five places of worship in the towns and villages of Oxfordshire by telling the stories of those, largely volunteers, who have given their time and energy to raise millions of pounds and work through the challenges involved in adapting an historic place of worship.

Walter, N. (2014). Church buildings for people. Reimagining church buildings as nourishing places. Cambridge: Grove Books Ltd.

This booklet argues that every church building has a personality, and invites you to engage with yours in new and exciting ways.

ChurchCare Guidance Notes

Notes relating to the care, use and development of church buildings.

Crossing the Threshold: A step by step guide to developing your place of worship for wider community use and managing successful building projects (2017) 

The toolkit offers step-by-step guidance for parishes beginning to consider making changes to their buildings and who have a vision of opening up their church buildings for wider community use.

Diocese of Truro Toolkit for clergy to assess church buildings and encourage a wider use for communities (2016)

This is to help clergy and lay leaders to have a full, creative and open discussion about their church building(s)

Easy Access to Historic Buildings

This is a Historic England’s guideline intended for those who own, manage or occupy historic buildings in England. They are also for the benefit of those who will be professionally involved in planning alterations or in advising on alternative forms of service provision.

Equipping for Rural Mission by Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre. Understanding Your Local Congregation and Community

Equipping for Rural Mission is a programme for any rural church, helping congregations to better understand their church and the needs of their local community in order to review and develop their mission, working with others to effect change. The four sessions are designed to run over a period of 6 weeks or more, resulting in specific priorities for community action. It has the potential to involve the whole congregation but can be initiated by a smaller group.

The Changing Church: A Guide to Developing and Adapting Church Buildings (2002).  Essex County Council and Chelmsford Diocesan Advisory Committee.

The guide sets out the procedures in the Diocese of Chelmsford for making applications for permission to change or develop a church or churchyard. It also provides guidance and advice about the role of a PCC and others in the vision needed to ensure that church buildings are places of welcome, prayer and strength to all members of local community.

UK REconomy Project Pilot (ended in June 2017) provides three practical guides for community economic change

Walter, N. & Hammett, J. ChurchBuild Project Guide

This toolkit is a collection of more than 30 articles covering many of the practicalities of getting church construction projects built. It is aimed at churches undertaking major church building projects in the UK.

Walter, N. & Mottram, A. (2015). Buildings for Mission. A complete guide to the care, conservation and development of churches. Canterbury: Canterbury Press.

Sustaining Major Parish Churches: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities Appendix 50 Case Studies (2016). Historic England Research Report.

These case studies have been prepared to provide an overview understanding of a wide sample of major parish churches from the original dataset of 300. The case studies offer a snapshot in time of the experiences of the church today, set out within the context of the historic development and significance of the church building. T

Sustaining Major Parish Churches: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities. Appendix 12 In-Depth Case Studies (2016). Historic England Research Report

These case studies have been prepared to provide an in-depth understanding of a smaller sample of representative major parish churches. The case studies offer a snapshot in time of the experiences of the church today, set out within the context of the historic development and significance of the church building.

ChurchCare case studies

These are brief accounts of churches that have successfully adapted for wider use.

Diocese of Exeter case studies

These highlight a wide range of projects.

Unlocking the Next Economy (2018)

Stir to Action’s year-long pilot that will explore how physical assets can be an important part of community economic development, and how un- and underused churches could specifically be a part of this process.

Growing the Rural Church Project (2017)

The Diocese of Exeter project that works with rural mission communities to develop their resources and support rural mission communities to partner with their local communities and external agencies to find sustainable missional, community, commercial or cultural uses for their church buildings, which benefit the whole community.

Documentary ‘Old Church: Before and After’ (2015)

St Thomas a Becket church in Somerset is on the heritage critical list and badly in need of rescue. A flood in 1968 led to the church’s eventual deconsecration and it is just one of many churches in Britain that has been declared redundant. Decline in church-going and amalgamation of parishes have put a huge swathe of our architectural heritage in peril.

Community engagement in design: The story of St Luke’s Church, Oxford. (2019)

St Luke’s completed a project to develop their church in 2014 creating a space that effectively serves worshiping needs alongside offering a variety of activities and services for the wider local community. The film tells the story of this building project highlighting the open and creative approach that was taken to engage the community throughout the process, and the value that this engagement brought.

Community engagement in design: The story of Graylingwell Chapel, Chichester (2019)

Graylingell Chapel is a building with a rich history, currently under the custodianship of Chichester Community Development Trust. The film tells the story of how the development of the Chapel started, and how the community engagement process was organised to ensure that the plans take into consideration the needs and aspirations of the local community.

Engaging communities in design decision-making (2019)

A film created during a workshop exploring community engagement by the Empowering Design Practices research team.

Churches Conservation Trust’s Regeneration consultancy projects (2018)

A video about the range of regeneration consultancy services offered by the Churches Conservation Trust, looking at the impact and achievements of our work.

Churches Conservation Trust’s All Souls Bolton case study (2015)

This full-length documentary from the Community Channel & The Media Trust explores the story of our £4.9m regeneration project of All Souls’ Church, Bolton through the eyes of those who have been involved in it, including Chair of All Souls Bolton Inayat Omarji, Chief Executive of The Churches Conservation Trust Crispin Truman, historic building specialist Alan Gardner, and project architect Nick Berry.

Architecture Students Help Redesign Paulsgrove Church (2015)

Thirty brazilian architecture students have descended on a Paulsgrove church to give it a bit of a re-design. The students have to come up with ideas that will make the church work better in the community.

“Church buildings: burden, blessing and an asset for mission”

A discussion document by the West Midlands Place of Worship Support Officers based on their experience in the Dioceses of Hereford, Lichfield and Worcester from 2009 to 2015.

Diocese of Worcester. Buildings Mission – Changing Our Logic (2018 symposium presentations)

National Churches Trust


Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation
Cambridge Judge Business School
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG

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Diocese of Ely
Diocesan Office
Ely Diocesan Office
Bishop Woodford House
Barton Road
Ely CB7 4DX

Tel: +44 (0)1353 652701

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No previous project on this scale has succeeded in reaching so far beyond the church’s existing members and friends. By connecting the expertise of Cambridge Judge Business School and the local experience of our parishes, this project will break new ground in understanding how the significance of the church for society can be understood, developed and sustained.
Geoffrey Hunter, the Diocese of Ely’s Church Buildings, Consultant