Up to 8,000* visitors to your church each year?
Is this a good thing? In Ludham we think so – because we are proud of our fine village church and love to share it with others.
Besides, visitors are generous donors, especially where they are made truly welcome. It has to be admitted that Ludham is a popular village in the centre of Broadland and St Catherine’s Church is right in the middle, so it is relatively easy to attract visitors. But it is the warm welcome they receive that makes a memorable visit.
It starts at the smartly painted gates – open all day and every day and where there are signs inviting them to come on in. A netted iron gate keeps the birds out and gives way to a neat porch, complete with a dog water bowl. Inside, the first view never fails to impress and we know from the visitors’ book that they appreciate a well cared for church, here thanks to Maria, our housekeeper par excellence. Various free guides are a given. We try hard to make our church feel comfortable as a place of worship, where visitors can quietly pray or just be still, with helpful materials at hand. A clergy friend said that a good test is – would one like to be married in this church? An affirmative response indicates that the PCC is on the right track.
Perhaps the best way to complete a visitor’s good impression is to offer some simple refreshment and a comfortable place to sit. Also, people may have travelled some distance, so the availability of an accessible loo is a welcome facility.
Most visitors understand that a large and ancient church building needs funds to keep it in order and are more than happy to make a donation at the end of their visit. A discreet notice by the exit helps, together with a simple collection box. In Ludham, a heavy green safe serves this purpose and has a slot on top for donations. A supply of gift aid envelopes and pens is on top of the safe. For modern-day visitors, the Goodbox machine offers a speedy way to donate a fiver and, as its accompanying notice says, this helps to keep the church as a much-loved house of worship, open to all and to hold its place in the centre of village affairs. All this works well for us!
*We have a counting machine at the door.
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