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On Saturday 16 June the entrants from across the Diocese gathered in Norwich Cathedral to hear who had won the Welcoming Churches Awards 2018.
Speaking about the awards Bishop Graham said:
“A welcoming church is one which takes its mission seriously and realises that a place sanctified by prayer and worship speaks in itself of the presence of Christ. I’m delighted so many churches entered this year’s competition and that the standard was noticeably higher than two years ago. Congratulations to all who were commended or highly commended, and special congratulations to Cromer and Horsford, our urban and rural winners, for their achievement.”
This is the second time that the Diocese has run the competition and over 30 churches entered. People were asked to nominate their church as ‘the most welcoming’ and then a panel of judges came to visit unannounced to see how welcoming they really were."
The Archdeacon of Norwich, the Ven Karen Hutchinson said:
"Our churches can be places of encounter with God seven days a week, if they are open and inviting. The Welcoming Church Awards celebrates the many ways that our church buildings can speak of God's love and generous welcome, even when we are not there to do so in person. It was heartening to hear what an improvement the judges had seen since the first Welcoming Church Awards in 2016, and we hope this good work will continue."
Below is the list of the winners and those who were highly commended by the judges:
The Most Welcoming Urban Church - St Peter and St Paul Church, Cromer
The Most Welcoming Rural Church - All Saints Church in Horsford
Highly Commended Urban Churches
Highly Commended Rural Churches
What are the Welcoming Church Awards?
There are excellent examples of weekday welcome around the Diocese, and the Tourism and Open Churches Mission Action Team (TOMAT) seeks to share these more widely. The Welcoming Church Awards was created by the team to celebrate and share good practice across the Diocese.
They wanted to find the most welcoming churches in the Diocese of Norwich for parishioners, casual visitors, and tourists who stop by to explore your church when there are not necessarily any people around to meet them.
Our buildings, and how they are presented speak for the people of God who worship there. The judging is not based on size, artefacts or architecture but on how each church welcomes visitors.