Category Archives: Heritage

Faith, place and planning issues relating to heritage, typically those of minority faith groups that have established premises for many decades.

Heritage of Minority Faith Buildings

Historic England are running a day conference at the Society of Antiquaries on Monday 12th March (click here for full details).  Organised by network member, Dr Linda Monckton, many other Faith and Place network members will be contributing, including Dr Clare Canning, Dr Jasjit Singh, Dr Andrew Rogers, Nairita Chakraborty, Shahed Saleem and Dr Richard Gale. The grand finale of the day is the launch of Shahed Saleem’s book, The British Mosque.

Signs of Wonder

Faith and Place network members, Dr Andrew Rogers and Dr Richard Burgess, have received funding from Southlands Methodist Trust to investigate the iconography and aesthetics of black majority churches in a London borough. Entitled “Signs of Wonder”, the project reflects on the theologies embedded in their signboards, banners, architecture, websites and media products. Dr Mark Minott, the lead fieldworker, has just completed photographing churches and interviewing pastors about the meanings and narratives associated with these signs. Watch this space for further updates later this year!

Faith and Place in the Netherlands

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The network leaders, Andrew and Richard, recently visited Amsterdam and the Hague to get a sense of how faith, place and planning issues play out in the Netherlands. Meticulously organised by Dutch network member, Rev Dr Rens Schalkwijk, we met faith group leaders, policitians, architects, academics and spent Sunday at church. It also felt like we had cycled round the whole city!

Ruud Schurmann from Task Force Future Church (translation) explained to us his organisation’s work in preserving historic church buildings, and the parliamentarian, Cynthia Ortega-Martijn, explained some of the political realities for faith groups in Dutch cities. We gained a strong impression of many issues being similar to those faced by faith groups in the UK. We visited network member, Pastor Felix Asare, of Victory Outreach Church in the Hague, who spoke to us movingly of the church’s community outreach programme in drug rehabilitation. Pastor Emmanuel Koney met with us, pointing out there were over 300 ‘migrant’ churches in Amsterdam. He told us the story of the Kandelaar in Amsterdam South East, a purpose-built multi-hall centre for the use of up to 15 faith groups, as well as the trials and travails he had experienced in making this initiative happen. One of their projects with the police department was a ‘Reporting a crime without worries’ card for illegal aliens.

Sunday morning saw Richard and I heading for Escape – the largest nightclub in Amsterdam – right in the centre of town on Rembrandtplein. This is where Hillsongs Amsterdam meet, running four services a Sunday, so as to include all their members in worship. As for many churches who rent premises, whether small or large, setting up and setting down takes many hours of volunteer effort (especially as it was operating as a nightclub into the early hours of the morning). We headed south-east in the afternoon, and joined the Ghanaian majority Pentecost Revival Church, to see the Kandelaar for ourselves first-hand. Called on to speak to the church as a double act, we explained the purpose of the network and our visit, and were very warmly received.

There was time to visit VU University to meet with network member, Professor Hijme Stoffels and colleagues. This proved a very useful opportunity for making connections with their work in urban theology and human geography. A quick tour of faith based business and community initiatives concluded our visit, with Andrew then having to run at top speed through Schipol with all luggage, in order to be the last one on the ‘plane.

Critical Themes for Explorations event

Following on from the first network event, Perspectives, and the subsequent report (see previous post), Andrew and Richard have identified four critical themes to be explored in more depth at the upcoming Explorations event on the 19th March 2015 in Birmingham. These themes are set out below or you can download them here. Continue reading Critical Themes for Explorations event

Perspectives report

The Faith and Place network met for the first time at The Royal Foundation of St Katharine on 4th December 2014. The report below summarises the key themes and discussions of the day.

1.             Introduction

1.1          The purpose of the first event of the Faith and Place Network was to explore, from a diversity of perspectives, the interrelations between faith, place and the politics of planning. Above all, it placed emphasis on exploring accounts from faith community representatives, planners and policy professionals, to begin teasing out the hidden histories and current realities surrounding the faith, place and planning nexus. This was a significant first step towards achieving the network goals, both to bring together participants from a range of faith, planning and professional backgrounds and to produce policy relevant guidance on religious space and planning practice.

1.2          This report attempts to capture and synthesise the rich variety of themes that were explored throughout the presentations and discussions that made up the Perspectives event, and in turn, to provide network participants with a platform on which to build in the subsequent network events. The various sections below are our attempt to organise the key ideas articulated by network members, according to the over-arching topics and themes that emerged throughout the day. Continue reading Perspectives report

New £15 million fund for urgent roof repairs to listed places of worship

One of our Faith and Place network members, Anthony Collins solicitors, drew our attention to the roof repair fund of £15 million announced by the Chancellor on 3rd December.

This is available to congregations of all faiths and denominations who are responsible for maintaining a listed building. Grants of between £10,000 to £100,000 are available, with an application deadline of 30th January 2015. See the The Listed Places of Worship Roof Repaid Fund website for further details.