Making the most of your church building

Author: Geoff Freeman

Published on: 7 June 2015

Very soon at Cley church we shall be hosting the nationally advertised Contemporary Art Exhibition by the North Norfolk Exhibition Project, curated by Meryl Doney.

As Churchwarden, I attend to the maintenance of our fabulous building and cater for any logistical needs as they arise. This year should see alterations at St Margaret’s of unprecedented size, comprising a new refreshment area and toilet facility.

With the help of Matthew McDade, our new Executive Officer for the Care and Development of Church Buildings, and the project architect, Iain Walker, we have been able to demonstrate how easy it is now to engage in the simplified faculty process. Together, we hope we shall have made Cley church a really welcoming place with amenities.

This will be the fourth time we have hosted NNEP, and on previous occasions they have done wonders with what space has been available. Even if you don’t have a very large church like ours, I would say, don’t be put off having events just because of too many pews and not much open space. It is surprising how exhibitors and musicians can think ‘outside the box’ and produce some amazing results.

One of the best features from past years is that from the curators, down to the artists themselves, I have only ever met with respect and cheerfulness and great ideas, causing me to allow things that I never thought possible. The artists are well trained to ask how things can be conducted and how they can be fixed, and above all, communicative, so that you don’t end up with something that you would rather not have seen. Nobody is going to want to paint anything pink!

Of course your church is primarily a place of worship, but just about anything that gets it seen, so that the public realise that it does have an inside as well as an outside, has to be a good thing. They would also see churches being revered and cared for, causing them to dig a little deeper as to why.

We really have to aim a bit higher than the odd beetle drive and bring and buy sale. A few years ago, I thought we’d ‘had it’, but now I sometimes think of Cley church as being like an old lady who, although rather tired, is once more putting on her high heels and a bit of ‘lippy’. Not only can we have music and colour, but people might even feel the need to come to church again. We must be ready to welcome them and listen to them!

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Geoff Freeman

Parish Funding Support Officer

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