The missional importance of church buildings was a key theme at the Annual DAC Conference 2022 held in Leeds and hosted by our diocese this week.
More than 100 representatives from 33 dioceses attended the three-day event, which heard from a range of speakers and included visits to variety of churches across the city.
Guests including Gareth Mostyn, Chief Executive of the Church Commissioners and Elizabeth Peace, Chair of the Church Conservation Trust.
Delegates heard local clergy and laity describe their experiences of building management and development in urban settings, with talks also from national experts. Visits included Grade 1 listed Gipton, the Epiphany and Grade 2* listed Halton, St Wilfrid - both of which are outstanding examples of 20th century estate churches.
Lisa McIntyre, Team Leader (Church Buildings and Pastoral Reorganisation) for the Diocese of Leeds, helped organise the conference, which was run with support from the Church Buildings Council.
“It was fantastic to welcome people from across the country and show them some of our Leeds city churches,” Lisa said.
“They got to see great buildings, but also the social challenges that surround them and how our churches are responding to those challenges by using their buildings to support people.
“For example, we visited Holbeck, St Luke’s and saw its new community-use extension that was created with funds raised by the church from a combination of generous legacies and applications to grant-providers.”
Conference-goers also visited Holy Trinity, Boar Lane Leeds, to see the project to reorder an urban church, aimed at welcoming city workers to worship, created thanks to the national church’s Strategic Development Fund.
The role of churches in nurturing the environment was illustrated during a trip to Far Headingly, St Chad’s, which is recognised for its innovative work in encouraging biodiversity in its grounds.
“We have already had good feedback about the conference and it was great to hear opinions from expert people who were viewing our buildings with fresh eyes,” Lisa said.