Although most churches already have a guide, congregations often become dissatisfied with it. Perhaps it is too difficult for an inexperienced visitor to understand; perhaps it is too focused on the building and overlooks the people that are involved in its history; perhaps new research or clearer writing is needed.
- Why write another church guide?
We would encourage every church to consider if it could improve the way it communicates with visitors - with clear writing, interesting stories and historical context. Few churches provide guides online for potential visitors; short ones for casual visitors; detailed ones for experienced visitors and fun ones for children.
- How much do these services cost?
writers and mentors are volunteers, and our guide is free to use. Your church will probably need to cover printing costs but these can be recouped by selling the guide. You will also need to agree with your writer
who is responsible for any travel and research costs, this is usually only the cost of one return trip to see the church. Writers are sometimes willing to cover these costs themselves.
- Aren't church guides boring and technical?
Some of them are, and that's why we want to encourage churches to write new, imaginative ones. Our mission is to encourage not just more guides to be written but also for guides to be better - using clear language, personal stories, new technology and innovative approaches to make church history fascinating for visitors of all backgrounds. See our innovative guide for more examples.
- Will a guide take into account our current activities and our religious aims?
We don't believe churches have to be either 'living' buildings or museums - we think they're both! We encourage writers to describe the building's current use, both for services and the community, as well as how religious and liturgical history has shaped its layout and use. Devotion is an essential part of telling the story of a church and the people that use it, and many visitors may be unfamiliar with how churches are used today. See our innovative guide for more examples, we have had great feedback from vicars, congregations, bishops and historians alike.
This is entirely up to you. We encourage you and your writer to agree together what the final guide should look like and how the writing process with go ahead. Some members of the congregation may like to be involved, perhaps in writing sections of the guide, sharing their ideas or providing stories, memories and photographs. If they do that's brilliant, but a writer should be able to produce an excellent guide through library-based research and a visit to the church. We suggest you allow
for an editing process after the first draft of the guide to make sure the final product is to everyone's satisfaction.
- If we register for a volunteer writer, will we be involved?
for you to agree with your volunteer writer. A good church guide can
take up to a couple of months, depending on the amount of time the
writer(s) have to spare.
- How long does a guide take to write?
Yes! We would also welcome communities from other religions with historic buildings that need a new guide. This website has no religious agenda. The name simply reflects how many churches there are in Britain without a church guide.
- Can any church take part?
All churches will become 'historic' at some point and all churches have a history that needs to be told. We believe all churches should have a guide to their history and architecture for visitors. Some of the most interesting architecture is to be found in modern churches and some of the most exciting histories are those of young churches.
- How 'historic' do we need to be?
There is no reason why you could not choose a writer from the other end of the country provided they are willing to make (and pay for) the journey to visit the church. However, many churches prefer to find a writer a little closer to home!
- Are all the writers nearby?
No. This website has no religious agenda. The only qualifications required of our writers is an interest in parish history and some experience of writing.
- Are all the writers Christian?
Yes. Any religious community with an historic building in need of a guide is welcome to take part.
- Could a mosque, synagogue or temple take part?