After a year marked by extraordinary change, limitations and isolation, church communities, like many others, have been through incredibly challenging times. But, as is so often the case, times of difficulty can bring out the best in people and pull communities together.

Data from the Church in Wales showed 115 Anglican churches closed over a 10-year period, about 8% of the total, with around 1300 still in use. Thos figures were released pre-pandemic so we suspect they could well rise over the next year or so.

At the time the Church in Wales said closures were a “significant issue” and while the sale rate had stayed steady, it was unlikely to slow down.

Now, a competition has been launched to give these churches the chance to share their good news stories and showcase all the ways that people in their local area have pulled together to make a difference.

‘Good News’ is a new competition for Anglican Churches in England, Wales and Scotland, launched by Ecclesiastical Insurance – with the chance to win £7,500 for their church.

We have seen how good news and good ideas have the power to redefine how we all experience life, community and the church; with this in mind we wanted to find a way to share your good news stories.

Share your Good News with Ecclesiastical Insurance for a chance to win £1,500 for your church plus £6,000 if you win the national prize.

We’ve been speaking to Lucy Handscombe from Ecclesiastical Insurance to find out more about this very special competition.

LUCY HANDSCOMBE

Ecclesiastical Insurance are specialist, totally unique, and committed to making a positive impact on society.

Originally founded in 1887 as the Ecclesiastical Buildings Fire Office to protect Anglican churches and church buildings against the risk of fire, the name Ecclesiastical has stayed with them as they’ve grown. As well as the support they give to community groups, charities and faith organisations, they also give a significant proportion of their profits to good causes, either through their own donations or via grants from the owner, Allchurches Trust.

As for the competition, Ecclesiastical Insurance told us what makes a Good News story….

‘Has something been done in your church community that made life that little bit better, or easier for others? Then that’s a good start.  It could be a project that actively engaged with younger or older members of the local community; or a digital initiative – like a WhatsApp group – that kept people connected.’ 

‘Maybe you have managed to carry out a successful fundraising campaign. Or maybe you’ve done really well in building your links to your local community, despite all the hurdles COVID-19 has put in your way. Of course, it might be something completely different – but whatever your story, we’d love to hear it, and to share it to help inspire others. It could be any story you feel deserves to be recognised.’

They are looking for:

  • Creativity – What is new, different or imaginative about the way you help your church community?
  • Effectiveness – How has your church community been supported?
  • Inspiration – Will your idea inspire other places of worship?

Think of your entry as a news article – write a newspaper-style attention-grabbing headline and a ‘news’ piece of no more than 250 words to tell your story. Send in a photo or video to include in your story just as you might see on a news site.

You need to fill in the online competition entry FORM if you can’t do that you can download a FORM and send it via email together with your photo to: churchcompetition@ecclesiastical.com. Video submissions will not be possible by post.

Once you submit your entry, your church will automatically be entered into the regional competition where each winner will receive a prize of £1,500. The grand final of the competition will see one of the regional winners be crowned the national winner and receive an additional £6,000. That is two chances to win!

All entries must be submitted by the closing date 17 September 2021. 

For more details on the competition, head over to Ecclesiastical’s website HERE.

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