Rise in Metal Thefts on Churches
Over the last six months, nine churches in our diocese have been targeted for lead theft, leaving huge repair bills for replacing lead and masonry damage caused by thieves attempting to climb onto the roof. We are urging all churches with lead flashings, rainwater goods and roofing material to be extra vigilant. Here are some ways you can help prevent your church being targeted:
- Ensure that all lead is painted with Smartwater and that signs warning of the use of Smartwater are clearly displayed;
- If your church has a lot of lead on the roof, fit a roof alarm. Ecclesiastical Insurance has guidance on this here and does not provide full cover for metal theft unless a roof alarm is fitted. Roof alarms can be fitted under List B with permission from your Archdeacon;
- Let your neighbours know if you are having any work done to your church so that they can be aware of contractors in your church and churchyard;
- Contact your local Police Community Support Officer and arrange for them to visit your church.
Further guidance on metal theft can be found at Historic England and The Church Building Council. As always, the DAC is able to advise PCCs on the best way to avoid metal theft so please contact us if you have any concerns.
New Updated Guidance from Historic England
Historic England has updated their guidance on Caring for Places of Worship. The new guidance can be accessed here: https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/caring-for-heritage/places-of-wors....
Maintenance Booker is the National Churches Trust’s online maintenance service for churches, is now available to churches with a new look website. Churches can register now for the service now at www.maintenancebooker.org.uk/register. Registration is free.
MaintenanceBooker will enable you to request and receive no-obligation quotes for essential maintenance services including:
Gutter Clearance and Follow on Repairs
Lightning Protection System Inspections
Tree Surveys and Surgery
Asbestos Management Services * (new for Yorkshire)
You can find out more by watching the MaintenanceBooker promotional video - just click https://vimeo.com/nationalchurchestrust/mb.
Churches may also be eligible for grant for up to 50% off gutter clearance if they book through the MaintenanceBooker site. Click here for more information on how to apply for this grant.
In response to a question generated by casework Ecclesiastical has produced a new guidance note on wood burning stoves. Its straightforward and clear guidance should be helpful to churches considering this form of heating. The note is part of the wider heating guidance provided by Ecclesiastical.
Some parishes are being targeted with material relating to a change in the energy marker in April 2018. Parish Buying has helpfully provided an explanation of this – and shows why it is not relevant to nearly every parish church. The changes relate only to electricity supplies that have half hourly meters.
Some companies (who are energy brokers) are using the changes as an excuse to contact parishes and then to sell them energy contracts. If you are unsure about whether you have a half hourly meter or have any questions then you can simply email or call Parish Buying using the details below and they will be able to give you the right advice whether or not you buy your energy through Parish Buying.
A full guidance note, with an illustration to help identify your type of electricity meter is here, please feel free to contact parish buying on 0800 368 0887 or by info [at] parishbuying.org.uk (email). It would be helpful if you could share this advice with any parishes concerned after receiving targeted advertising.
Discounts on LED lighting
Available for all CofE churches, dioceses and cathedrals, the Parish Buying Service have a new lighting supplier ‘LED Hut’. They are giving phenomenal discounts on bulbs to Parish Buying members. We encourage all churches to replace their old-style halogen bulbs with LED’s because they use up to 90% less energy than traditional lighting sources, with 90% less heat for the same light output. No mercury is used in the manufacture of LED bulbs, unlike the previous generation of low wattage CFL bulbs, and they have an average life of nearly fifty times more than a traditional incandescent light bulb and over six times more than compact florescent bulbs (which means less frequent bulb replacement, which means much less greenhouse gas produced in manufacture, distribution and installation). This not only reduces energy bills but also helps to save the environment.
To use the discounted pricing, churches (and cathedrals or dioceses) simply need to register for free with the Parish Buying Service. They can then create a LED Hut account to view the products and seek advice, if needed, on what to buy.
In light of the recent tragic events in Manchester and London we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Church of England website has a section dedicated to security which provides links to a wide range of relevant advice.
The commemorations of the end of the First World War in 2018 has given rise to fresh interest in beacons on church towers. Ecclesiastical has revised its guidance on church tower beacons, which is available here.
Historic England Emergency Plan guidance
There is some new guidance on Emergency Plans on the Historic England website. This is to help churches to establish plans for emergency situations such as fires and how to protect their church treasures during an emergency situation. The website includes a set of downloadable resources for churches to complete.
Crossing the Threshold
Crossing the threshold is a resource for PCCs who are thinking of developing their church building for community use. It has been developed by the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance and the Diocese of Hereford. The practical toolkit includes a step-by-step guide which takes PCCs from the early beginnings of a project through to completion. The tool kit is available free from the website of the Diocese of Hereford here.