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Heritage Online Debate

These are the pages where conservation and heritage experts debate the topics uppermost in their minds. Read on for a lively exchange of views for and by those interested in understanding, presenting and caring for England's rich and diverse historic environment.

Number 6: Places of Worship 

Historic places of worship can be found in every city, town and village across the country. They contribute hugely to our historic environment and our communities. They are often the centres of our spiritual lives, the hubs around which communities revolve and the landmarks we enjoy.

The people who value and care for these buildings recognise that there is always more to discover. They also understand the ever-present need to explain to an increasingly agnostic society why these buildings matter, how they benefit people and what enjoyment they can bring even to those not wishing to use them for worship.

This edition of Heritage Online Debate explores three particular areas central to the understanding of historic places of worship and their importance:

The big picture

Several articles explore the broad aspects of tourism and places of worship at risk. Sarah Crossland discusses the National Churches Trust’s new ExploreChurches resource promoting church tourism. Michael Mail explains initiatives saving Jewish heritage at risk across Europe. Christopher Wakeling’s blog focuses on five unique non-conformist buildings.

Maintenance and support

Articles from Fran Bell and Matthew Godfrey, and Peter Aiers, focus on the importance of maintenance and the support networks which help places of worship to stay open and connected to their communities.

Guidance and learning

The final two articles showcase opportunities for learning through new research, advice and conferences. Robyn Pender highlights new Historic England guidance and a conference on Environmental Protective Glazing, while Joseph Elders explores research and a conference on 20th century churches later in 2018.

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