Members of the trust gathered together in the lovely surroundings of the Wolds Heritage Centre, at the restored former church of St. James, Warter, East Riding of Yorkshire to discuss the future of the Trust now that grant funding of the project has come to an end.
The Chairman, Catharine Otton-Goulder QC, Dr. David Neave and Emily Keane talked about the progress so far and the aims of the Trust for the future and Jim Keane demonstrated the website which he has developed for the Trust. A lively discussion followed refreshments and some of the topics covered included:
Church buildings being used for community events and churches being open and welcoming to whoever may wish to enter them.
The problems and misconceptions associated with this aspiration were discussed and it was pointed out that providing that sensible precautions are taken, such as locking away transportable valuables, an open church is safer from criminal activity than one which is locked when persons with criminal intent would be undisturbed by casual visitors. This fact is acknowledged by the pre-eminent church insurer; The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group which provide reduced premiums to open churches.
It was suggested that the Open Churches Trust be contacted to obtain information and guidance for members and a Welcomers Course may be held in the future.
The annual fund raising bike ride, organised by the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust, which is held in September needed better publicity to raise public awareness.
Basic church building maintenance like cleaning out blocked gutters and window repairs could be provided for members by two people skilled enough to do basic tasks provided funding could be obtained.
Ways of attracting younger people to view the website were discussed and suggestions included a competition or treasure hunt with a challenge trophy as a prize.
A small annual subscription may have to be introduced to cover the basic administration costs of the Trust such as postage.
The titles of our leaflets and gazetteers are:
Sykes Churches Trail Southern Route
Holderness Churches: A Gazetteer
Yorkshire Wolds Churches: A Gazetteer
Stained Glass in the East Riding