Conference on Catholic heritage held at St Paul's Cathedral

The Historic Churches Committees Conference took place at St Paul's Cathedral in London last Thursday, 7 May.

Organised by the Patrimony Committee, the body charged with promoting Catholic heritage on behalf of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, the theme for this year's conference was "Building Partnerships", referring to the importance of dioceses and other organisations working
together to help preserve Catholic heritage in England and Wales.

Factors like population shifts and the economic recession have posed new challenges to churches throughout the country. Speakers at the conference encouraged dioceses to meet these challenges by working in partnership with organisations such as English Heritage on initiatives like 'Taking Stock', which assesses the historical and architectural importance of every church and chapel in a diocese.

Grants from English Heritage for heritage support officers are another available resource. Dioceses can apply for grants to fund fifty-percent of the costs of these positions over a three-year period.

"I hope dioceses will consider partnering with English Heritage on the 'Taking Stock' initiative and may be prepared to consider, even on a regional basis, applying for grants for support officers. Working partnerships like these are the best way forward," said Bishop Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood and Chairman of the Patrimony Committee.

Speakers at the conference included: Bishop Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood and Chairman of the Patrimony Committee; Sophie Andreae, Vice Chairman of the Patrimony Committee; Diana Evans, Head of Places of Worship Policy, English Heritage; Stephen Morgan, Financial Secretary, Portsmouth Diocese; Paul Lewis, Pastoral and Closed Churches Secretary, Church Commissioners; and Martin Stancliffe, Surveyor to the Fabric at St Paul's Cathedral. Representatives of all Historic Churches
Committees in England and Wales were present.

"For the Diocese of Portsmouth the 'Taking Stock' report, funded jointly by the diocese and English Heritage, provided crucially important data to enable us to work to implement our diocesan pastoral plan, Go Out and Bear Fruit," said Deacon Stephen Morgan, Financial Secretary of the Portsmouth Diocese.

Share this story