Welcome to the Association of Festival Churches!
The Church Buildings Review Report was endorsed by General Synod in 2016, and laid down a number of recommendations to be taken forward. One of these was the idea of regular Diocesan Strategic Reviews of Church Buildings as part of mission planning. The Church Buildings Council (CBC) subsequently produced guidance, database tools and a template which dioceses could adopt or adapt as they wished.
One of the aspects of this initiative was to explore the idea of creating Festival Churches, which would have a flexible service pattern, focussing on what they can deliver, and what the community in each place needs from its local church. It is important to note that this has no automatic financial, governance or structural consequences in terms of the status of the church affected.
The CBC has done a great deal of work on this, co-operating with several diocesan initiatives and helping to set up an Association of Festival Churches (AFC), which has now held three conferences. The idea behind the AFC is to provide a forum and resource for dioceses and parishes exploring or adopting the concept.
As the Chair, I am now setting the AFC on a firmer and independent footing. I judge the time to be right to do this, now that my term as Chair of the CBC is coming to a close and the changes to Canon B14(a) have passed through Synod and can be enacted.
These changes allow Festival Churches to be created without complex legal hurdles and without a firm time limit. Our Association welcomes the membership of all existing and prospective Festival churches. If you are already a Festival Church or if you are considering becoming one, please do get in touch.
Rt. Hon. Canon Sir Tony Baldry, DL