The key to opening your church building

Author: Geoff Freeman

Published on: 10 March 2016

Churches can be a benefit for the whole community and not just for those who attend worship on a Sunday.

One issue that is often raised by parishes is the fear that, if the church is open, it is more vulnerable to vandalism or theft. Statistically the reverse is true: an open church is less likely to be seen as a ‘treasure trove’ for opportunistic thieves, as an open church appears to be more cared for and will attract more visitors.

Should your church be open, four options present themselves for how long it is accessible.

  • Dawn to dusk. This is the simplest solution and involves the least person-time to maintain.
  • Set-time opening. Advertising when the church is open and shut allows people to plan their visit more effectively.
  • Key-holder notice. A clear sign on the church noticeboard of where a key is available from helps provide people with more information should a church be locked.
  • An electronic lock. Having an automatic, timed lock fitted can make the need for a person to open and close the church negligible. Electronic locks can be programmed to lock and unlock the church and are a really effective solution. There are a number of churches using this option and in our next edition we will be exploring the types of lock, the cost of installation and exploring the benefits of having the church open during daylight hours.

This may not be appropriate for every church, especially if the door on which the lock is to be placed is historic. However, consideration should be given to this if it is seen to be a viable option.

The author...

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Geoff Freeman

Parish Funding Support Officer

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