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A 40th Birthday Present

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					Newsletter No 12 of The Friends of Historic Cheshire Churches

Friends of Historic Cheshire Churches

Newsletter No 12 May 2009

A 40th Birthday Present
On 1st April this year the ‘The Churches Conservation Trust’ marked its 40th Birthday, and on its web site asked the question ‘How often do you get a church for your 40th birthday?’ It went on to announce that the remarkable Grade I listed medieval church of St. Margaret of Antioch, Knotting, Bedfordshire was given to ‘The Churches Conservation Trust’ (CCT) on the 1st April 2009 on the Trust’s 40th birthday.

Inside this issue:
Roy Bailey (1925—2009) 2

Well, it is certainly an unusual birthday present, however, behind this story lies the sad truth that the church of St Margaret of Antioch in Knotting is now a redundant church. It has been handed over to the CCT who will now carry out a study of its condition before the commencement of a programme of essential and delicate repairs to the roof. There is also a real possibility, the CCT believes, that undisturbed medieval wall paintings may survive underneath the paint.

Friends Programme 2009 Professional Alliance Annual Ride & Stride 2009 Contacts

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So this is another redundant church that will be cared for by the CCT along with over 340 of England’s finest historic churches which are no longer required for regular parish worship. The CCT which was established in 1968 under Pastoral Measure allows for churches, which have been made redundant by the Church of England and for which no alternative use can be found, which are of architectural or archaeological significance, to be vested in the Trust.

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There are, of course, a number of reasons why churches have to close. In this time of economic crisis, the difficulty of raising funds to carry out regular maintenance and the even more difficult task of raising significant amounts of money to fund major restoration projects, is a deep concern. Increasingly it will be important to gain the involvement and support of the wider community, and not just those who attend its services, in this process.

Grants to Churches

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How you can HELP In the last ‘Friends’ Newsletter I highlighted the contribution that churches can and do make to the local community in terms of community use, community services and tourism, and the need to capitalise upon the interest and support of local people by establishing friends groups. In many cases, in order to achieve this, there needs to be greater access to our churches.

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Visitors, who are potential ‘friends’, come in all shapes and sizes, and for different reasons. They may come a distance or from just round the corner. They maybe seasoned church ‘crawlers’, or making a sentimental journey back to their roots. They maybe looking for a sense of peace and quiet or just wanting to connect with some part of their family history. Whoever they are they need to feel welcomed. St Margaret of Antioch

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Newsletter No 12

A 40th Birthday Present

(cont.)

I was therefore interested to read about a project called ‘Divine Inspiration’ on the National Churches Trust web site www.nationalchurchestrust.org under their ’Guests’ page . This project has been running in the Diocese of Coventry since 2006 and is funded by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The aim is to help volunteers in parish churches to take a new look at their church; its heritage and space, and to develop ways of making connections An idea that is gaining favour is the establishment of ‘Friends Groups’ which can draw upon the support and interest of the local community.
Divine Inspirations’s Janet Sewell & Helen McGowan

The Church of England is also considering the appointment of tourism officers in an effort to boost flagging income. The idea would be to promote a national ‘brand’ in order to bring tourists, as well as worshippers into churches. Heritage with their communities and visitors in creative and exciting ways. The project supports the volunteers through the process of recognising strengths and weaknesses and identifies a list of short term aims. Longer term solutions, like developing the church space for activities other than worship, are also explored. It also discusses financial solutions, encouraging the church to be more resourceful and entrepreneurial by engaging with the social capital gained through the benefits that can be created for the wider community. It reports that churches in the Coventry Diocese run monthly film clubs, fish and chip suppers; accommodate art classes, libraries and advice centres all in the church itself. It reports that many churches have come full circle, aiming to be central to community life.

As it approaches the end of its third year, the Project has been undertaking a review of the opening times of churches. It would appear to have encouraged greater access and even reports that there are several 24/7 churches. For some churches it is only possible to be open at certain times, a day or half day each week, for some it’s every day. Some can only open at times when another activity is taking place or only by arrangement. Whatever the opening arrangements - it is far better than being completely inaccessible. Plans are now in hand for the opening times of the churches involved with the Project to be publish on an ‘Open Churches’ web site. The impression is certainly given that the Project is going a long way to achieving its aim of encouraging churches to widen their welcome to visitors in order to promote new connections and a network of social and community events that will encourage support and interest in the church. There is certainly a wealth of information on the web site that would be of interest to any church that is considering how to broaden the appeal of their church for a wider community. It would certainly appear that by making our churches more welcoming, then it might be possible to fend off the

Roy Bailey (1925—2009)
It was with great sadness that we heard in January of the death of Roy after a short illness. Roy was instrumental in the formation of the Friends of Historic Cheshire Churches about 7 years ago and its first secretary. Roy thoroughly enjoyed planning the Friends visits and outings and meeting people with shared interests. He was held in high regard by his many friends and colleagues and this was demonstrated by many people who crowded into Christ Church, Newton, Chester for a Service of Thanksgiving on Thursday 29th January 2009. Roy retired as Secretary of the Friends’ in September 2007 and moved to live in Llandudno last year. It was very sad that he had such a short time to enjoy his new home there. Donations in his memory were given to The Friends of the Countess Chester Hospital and are earmarked for their Relative Comfort Appeal. This will provide a new unit which will give private space for relatives of critically ill patients in the hospital.

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Friends Programme of Visits for 2009
Wed 27th May St Helen’s Tarporley The first documentary evidence of a church on this site is in 1287. The earliest parts of the present church are the two chapels which date from the 15th century. The rest of the church has been altered in a series of restorations. In 1785 the west end was rebuilt and two years later the north wall was rebuilt, the interior seating was remodelled and a gallery was added at the west end. Further extensive restorations were undertaken in 1834.

Wed 8th July

St Peter’s Prestbury

Prestbury boasts one of the oldest Parish Churches in the country. It is the oldest church in Macclesfield Deanery and has been at the heart of religious worship in the area for over eight hundred years. The church is a popular subject fot photographers and artits

Wed 29th July

St Thomas Stockton Heath

Currently undergoing some £300k of repair and restoration Wed 23rd September St Mary’s Sandbach

The Domesday Book records the presence of a priest and a church on the site of the present church.

Further details of these visits can be obtained from the Vincent Whitehead Hon Secretary of the Friends’.

Professional Alliance
HCCPT has now launched a categorised database of businesses that have a professional involvement in the work we do, helping to restore and maintain the fabric of Cheshire's churches and chapels of all denominations. So, if you are looking for an Architect, Stonemason, Stained Glass manufacturer, etc., please have a look at their website: www.hccpt.org

Annual Ride & Stride Day 2009
This year’s event is to be held on Saturday, 12 September from 10am to 4pm, so please participate to help the Trust beat last year’s record receipts of over £25k. !

Remember that 50% of the proceeds goes to a church of your choice, so why not link it to a restoration project for your church?

Now’s the time to get your local sponsorship up and running, so why not use our link to Just Giving to start the wheel’s turning? Please check us out at: www.justgiving.com/hccpt

Friends of Historic Cheshire Churches

Recent Grants – WREN assisted
Third Quarter 2008: St Mary Sandbach Little Budworth Frodsham Chester Warmingham Aldford £ 7,500 5,000 2,500 1,500 4,000 4,000 24,500 Fourth Quarter 2008: St Mary St Andrew St Peter St Michael St John the Evangelist St Mary St Peter St Mary Farndon Tarvin Plemstall Wincle Higher Walton Acton Congleton Grassendale £ 1,500 3,000 1,000 5,000 4,000 4,000 5,000 3,000

CONTACTS
Friends’ Secretary: Vincent Whitehead 15 Coombe Drive, Runcorn, WA7 4SR (T) 01928-566552 (E) vincent@whitehead15.fsnet.co.uk Grants’ Secretary and Annual Ride & Stride Coordinator:
Graham Clarke FCA The Red Lodge, Parkgate Road, Mollington, Chester, CH1 6NE (M) 0777-557-5564 (E) graham.clarke@uwclub.net

St Peter Norley Methodists St Peter St Leonard St John

Website: www.hccpt.org

36,000 First Quarter 2009: St John the Evangelist Holy Trinity Alvanley Mossley, Congleton £ 2,000 8,000

How you can HELP support HCCPT
(1) Get a Year’s FREE membership if you introduce a new FRIEND (2) Shop online through our new WEBSHOP @:www.buy.at/ cheshirechurches
Recent Grants – from our Unrestricted Fund
10,000 Second Quarter 2009: £

Get Your Applications In NOW!

(3) Take advantage of a Free Annual Subscription if you switch your Utilities Call: 0800 298 5528

St Mary St Paul St James St Martin

Bosley Stalybridge Birkenhead Ashton-upon-Mersey

1,000 10,000 5,000 1,000

17,000