A church’s buildings have a profound impact on its ministry
Most historic churches have changed multiple times during their history, and change is therefore in their nature. Such buildings are more like intergenerational narratives than completed artworks; on this understanding, to change such buildings well in the present generation is to add a further chapter to the existing narrative. To do that well demands that we understand the story to date as well as we possibly can, do creative work in the present, and leave ‘plot lines’ open for future generations to take the narrative forward in their own way.
This ‘narrative approach’ has been developed from our own original research and informs every aspect of how we practise conservation. Equally, we enjoy working with more recent buildings, or indeed designing new ones from scratch. Whatever the situation, many of the issues are the same, with the building representing the interface between the worshipping community and those around us. Standing at that interface, the building can therefore help the work of the church or hinder it; it can be an asset, rooting the church community in its locality and drawing others in, or actively pushing people away.
We see our job as ensuring that each church building we are involved with does more of the former and less of the latter.
For more on our approach to the place of buildings in the life of the church, as well as our ’narrative approach’ to conservation, see the publications page of this website.