Alan Jacobs shared about The Friends of Friendless Churches in his newsletters, and I love the concept. Who are The Friends?
The Friends of Friendless Churches was set up in 1957 to save disused but beautiful old places of worship of architectural and historical interest from demolition, decay and unsympathetic conversion. Working across England and Wales, we are an independent, non-denominational charity which cares for over 50 former places of worship and has helped hundreds more.
Believing that an ancient and beautiful church fulfils its primary function merely by existing, we preserve these buildings for the local community and visitors to enjoy. Without us, all of these buildings would no longer be here, or open to the public.
Maintaining and repairing churches is a considerable financial challenge. We rely on the generosity of our members and on the willingness of groups of local Friends to fundraise and to act as our eyes and ears.
The church is a people, not a building. But the buildings do tell a story, they have a formational aspect, they reflect commitments and values, and the grounds upon which they are built do, in a certain sense, become sacred spaces, saturated as they are with prayer and worship and the memories and experiences of human beings who gathered together in such spaces in hopes of encountering the divine, of meeting with God.