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Sixty years in preservation

06 December 2013

WESTMINSTER ABBEY

"Surely the Lord is in this place": the adventurer, author and presenter Bear Grylls, reads from Genesis 28

"Surely the Lord is in this place": the adventurer, author and presenter Bear Grylls, reads from Genesis 28

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."

 

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