As we enter the Summer months, Church Buildings' Officer, Mark Carter, offers advice about what to focus on as you care for your church building.

Take advantage of the long days

Use the long, sunny days to inspect the building: check rainwater goods and gulleys for blockages and cracks; inspect windows (the glazing, putty, lead canes and wire ties) and lubricate the moving parts so that they can be opened on the hottest days; and redecorate timber windows, doors, fascias and bargeboard. Remember that permission is required under List B of faculty rules from the Archdeacon via the Church Buildings Team.

Why not join forces with other churches in your benefice or deanery to share the load, share the costs (if hiring equipment) and share skills and good practice?

Engage with your churchyard

Summer is a great time for engaging with the wildlife in your churchyard; creating wild areas or undertaking recording of species can be great ways of engaging the wider community with the church.

The Beautiful Burial Ground Project run in partnership with Caring for God’s Acre has some excellent resources and training sessions available. There are some training sessions taking place in Herefordshire this summer: why not offer to host one in Worcestershire or Dudley? Find out more about the project on their website: https://www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk/.

Prepare for winter

Take advantage of the warmer weather and arrange for heating systems to be drained down and for boilers to be serviced. Ensure that any work is undertaken by registered Gas Safe Engineers or NICEIC/NAPIT registered electricians.

If you encounter any issues with the heating systems, do let the Church Buildings Team know straight away; permission must be granted for new heating systems prior to winter.

Pass on the knowledge

Many churchwardens have just entered office: ensure that outgoing wardens pass on all their records to their successors. It is very important to the future operation of the parish that those folders lurking in the vestry, the garage or under the bed are passed on to your successors. Additionally, don’t forget all the PDFs and email threads that are kept online too. So often maintenance and works are delayed by gaps in record-keeping.

For guidance on what records to keep, for how long and how best to destroy old records, visit the Church of England Library & Archive pages on the following link: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/libraries-and-archives/records-management-guides.

The Church Buildings team at the Diocesan Office is always happy to offer advice on managing church buildings safely and legally. Please contact us if you have any concerns. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) also has a great Faith In Maintenance calendar with advice on what to do at different time of the year: https://www.spab.org.uk/sites/default/files/SPAB-FiM-maintenance-calendar.pdf.