Anglican churches are home to some of England’s most beautiful and important treasures, including paintings, silver work, sculpture, furniture and much, much more.
The Church Buildings Council is has revised its guidance on the sale of treasures with an emphasis on celebrating the story that each artefact tells and contributes to their local church.
In the vast majority of cases, retaining the treasure within the church is the ideal scenario. However, on some occasions it is appropriate for items and artefacts to be curated in a museum or library (subject to faculty). For such situations, we have developed a deed of gift example with a reverter clause. This successfully deals with the fact that many museums now refuse items on long term loan and also complies with charity law by not alienating anything of value.Click here to access our draft example of a Deed of Gift contract. Please note that this deed is for illustrative purposes only and may not be suitable. You are advised to consult your DAC and Registrar in the first instance.
From Bank to Altar. The PCC of a London church realised that there was no benefit in paying for historic plate to be stored in a bank. The arrangement with the bank was terminated, the plate returned to the church. Two seventeenth-century cups, a standing paten and an alms dish are now used regularly for Holy Communion. The rector said "It has given us enormous pleasure to bring back into service our historic plate. We were a little hesitant at first, since the depth and width of the chalices are markedly greater than those of the Gothic revival ones we had been using for about a century. In fact, both regular and occasional communicants have found no difficulty in using them. The items were not given to be locked away, and the important thing, after all, is what they contain. The bank has unconsciously done us a considerable favour."
If your church has silver in the bank, why not bring it back into use? If your security needs review, discuss this with the church's insurers; even new safes are quite inexpensive.
Response to Judgment In the Matter of Emmanuel Church, Leckhampton, Parish of Emmanuel, Cheltenham
The Church Buildings Council's job is always to balance the needs of worship, mission and community engagement with maintaining the Church's precious heritage and this informs our advice at all times.
In this case the parish has behaved illegally, as the Chancellor pointed out in the judgment, by not applying for a faculty to sell the picture and we therefore thought it was important to make a stand. Particularly in view of the judgment by the Church's most senior court that there should always be a presumption against sale.
As the parish behaved illegally, there was never an opportunity for constructive engagement and sensible dialogue, that we normally seek, about the future of this important painting.