Supporting over 16,000 cathedral and church buildings of The Church of England

Open and Sustainable

Open and Sustainable Churches is a ChurchCare initiative to encourage wider, more imaginative and more strategic use of the Church of England's 16,000 buildings. 

It aims to help churches select the right legal and funding model to develop their building for uses beyond the primary role of worship: these could be community activities, cultural events or even commercial activities.

There is now greater flexibility in the system to allow shared use of a building and our guidance pages offer advice on the options in terms of legal  and funding models

'Open' means:

  • Open for worship and for visitors during normal working or daylight hours; if this is not possible, there will be clear information about opening times, services and where a key can be found
  • Open in the sense of providing a welcoming atmosphere for all, including those of other faiths or none, and regardless of their initial reason for visiting
  • Open for partnership, where appropriate, with community and commercial interests, and for cultural (including tourism and educational) uses
  • Open in the sense of providing wherever possible good access and modern amenities, to facilitate the above

'sustainable' means:

  • Environmentally sustainable, striving to meet the goals set out by the Church in its Shrinking the Footprint campaign, and to protect and enhance the ecological value of our buildings and churchyard
  • Sustainable in the true sense of conservation, which is the responsible management of change, preserving the heritage value of our churches and churchyards while seeking to enhance and reveal their significance and use
  • Socially sustainable, by providing a resource which is accessible and attractive to large sections of the community, and therefore able to draw on this social capital
  • Economically sustainable, in terms of covering the costs of mission, social outreach, and maintenance while maintaining healthy reserves

Click on the links on the left to find out more