Attracting tourists & pilgrims
Promoting your church online, downloading 'Church Open' posters and purchasing outdoor banners.
Top tips for welcoming churches
- Ensure that gates, boundary walls, hedges and noticeboards are well maintained, as these are often the first things visitors see as they approach the church.
- Wherever possible place a sign outside your building indicating that visitors are welcome and the church is open.
- Ensure there is a balance between welcome signs and various warnings at the church gate or entrance. Have a specific sign welcoming visitors as close to the main entrance to the building as possible.
- If you are able to provide disabled access, are the instructions for assisted access clearly displayed?
- If you have toilets, are they open, clean, tidy and available for use. It is really annoying when toilets are advertised, and which can be seen when visiting the building, but are inaccessible.
- Is your church clean and tidy? If not this can leave a lasting impression and make visitors feel that the church is being neglected, even if it isn’t.
- Is your church cluttered? Having items stored visibly or hidden in pews or odd corners is far from ideal.
- If you wish to sell items, place them sensitively with clear labelling displayed.
- Check that your notice board isn’t faded or showing out of date notices. Are banners and hangings up-todate, and in good condition?
- It is good to see invitations to make drinks etc, but if you are offering refreshments then it is essential that everything is kept fresh, easily accessible and safe to use.
- Keep dog bowls clean and freshly refilled. If this is difficult, perhaps have an empty bowl available that can be filled as and when needed.
- It is important to have good guides and interpretative material on offer, either in paper format or using modern technology. Also consider having a guide specifically written for children. Be careful that your guides do not lose their visual clarity from being reproduced too often. There is also an opportunity to include information about Christian beliefs, baptism and weddings.
- Consider developing a free simple, single sheet with basic interpretation of features of the church for those who are not familiar with the structures and layout. Have another more detailed guide with the history, points of interest, events, or important local people particularly associated with your church.
- Consider having a designated prayer area with invitations to pray or with candles to aid reflection and meditation. If you do provide candles, please make sure there is a means of lighting them.
- If you have features within your churchyard that you would like visitors to see, ensure that the paths leading to them are cut regularly. Check that any benches or seats are kept well maintained, making them pleasant to sit on and quietly reflect.
- Judges were amazed at the number of churches where there was obviously wonderful ongoing work in progress. However, there were some where simply too much ‘visual business’ was going on and the judges felt it took away the feeling of a worshipful space.
- Consider how you ask for donations, and when. The visitor experience is enhanced by first seeing a welcome sign and guides on entry but is diminished by first seeing a sign saying how much it costs to keep the church open. Consider having a donation box notice on the way out to the effect: “We hope you have enjoyed your visit to this Church. If you would like to help us to maintain it your gifts will be warmly and gratefully received”.
Listing on the website
All open churches are listed on the Exploring Norfolk Churches website. Your listing links directly to your church website, so all information about events and exhibitions should be on your own church website. To get your church included on the list please contact Caroline Rawlings on email@example.com
To add your event to our what’s on section, click here.
‘Church Open’ posters
Download the A4 posters below to put up in your church(es) and elsewhere to attract visitors:
These posters can also be purchased pre-printed in colour from Diocesan House through the online shop.
Outdoor ‘Church Open’ banners
The Diocese has produced 6x2ft outdoor banners which churches can purchase for £30 and put up outside their church. You can see what they look and purchase them on the online shop here or by contacting 01603 880853.
The banners are made of strong (540gsm) PVC, hemmed and eyeleted, full colour, and weatherproof.
In response to our Diocesan Mission Strategy 2021, the Listen stream has commissioned a resource pack as a tool to invite visitors to engage with our faith through church furnishings and festivals. Find out more here.