Our church, which has a small congregation, is
fund-raising to replace an electronic organ that is 25 years old
and past its sell-by date. We have raised about £5000, but would
like to hear of any grants that might help us.
AS YOU rightly noted in your email, we do hear about organs from
redundant churches, but normally these are pipe organs, which cost
a great deal to move and have high maintenance costs when compared
with the electronic kind.
I have not found any outside trust or agency that helps to fund
electronic organs, and it is extremely difficult to raise funds for
even the historic pipe organs. I suspect that local fund-raising
will be your main source of help: appeals should be targeted at all
who may benefit from even occasional use of the church.
Seek help from local residents, and from those who attend for
occasional services such as weddings and baptisms. A discreet
leaflet or sign could be distributed at funerals in church. And do
ask any organisation that uses your church for its assistance in
A reminder. Perhaps the most important thing is - and I
overlooked this item last autumn - is to check the gutters. The
last of the autumn leaves may still be blocking hopper heads, and
now the snow has arrived. Take a regular - even daily - look at
gutters and hopper heads, especially when the snow begins to melt.
There may be ice and snow blocking down-pipes, meaning that the
melt from further up the roof has nowhere safe to go. Critically,
the snow-melt may back up and flow into the church, depending on
the gutter design, rather than slop out above the hopper heads.
It is better to spot the problem before internal walls and
plasterwork are damaged; so get a local builder with the
appropriate ladder to divert the slipping snow or assist with
It is wise, regardless of snow issues, to book a builder at
least once a year, to clear the gutters of debris; this will
decrease the chances of water getting into the building, or washing
away mortar on external walls through overflowing. Your
quinquennial inspecting architect, now that we have heavier
rainfall than in earlier decades, may recommend altering hopper
heads to include a "spout" to carry overloads of water out and away
from the building.
If your churchwardens and PCC members have not been to a Society
for the Protection of Ancient Buildings day-conference on church
maintenance, look it up and get its DVD, which takes you through
the regular tasks required.
Comments and questions to
Use the same email address for enquiries about upcoming
Village Churches day conferences in 2013 (in Bedfordshire and