THE National Churches Trust (NCT), at a service in Westminster
Abbey on Thursday of last week, celebrated 60 years of working with
endangered church buildings. The charity, founded in 1953
as the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, has made more than
12,000 grants, worth £85 million, to help preserve churches.
The service included interviews with supporters of churches
which have received NCT grants. Olwen Jenkins, from St David's
Church, Llandewi Aberarth, spoke of how helpful their NCT grant had
been. "Raising money for repairs can be a slow and anxious process,
but the news that we were getting an NCT grant was really inspiring
to us," she said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave an address, preaching from
Genesis 28 and 1 Peter 2. He said: "Our historic stones exist to
serve our 'living stones'.
"I long to ensure our unused buildings stand ready for a time
when we grow and we can use them afresh." He reported that, of the
UK's 16,000 church buildings, about 12,000 were deemed to be
special or listed in some way.
"This is both a challenge and opportunity," he said. "The
opportunity is for them to continue to offer their communities a
place to meet God. These buildings should throw open their arms to
welcome the communities living in the shadow of their spires into
the presence of God."