The Norfolk Churches Trust is delighted to announce that the Rt Rev Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich has accepted the invitation to become a vice-patron.
About this opportunity to support the Trust, the Bishop has said: “I am delighted to have been invited to become a Vice-Patron of the Norfolk Churches Trust. The Trust does a huge amount to provide advice and raise funds to support the fabric of our incredible churches in the Diocese of Norwich. Each church building is a treasure-trove of memories, each a pointer in the landscape to the message of Jesus Christ, and each is home to prayerful people who make salt, and generate light, in their neighbourhoods.”
Bishop Graham continues the tradition of Bishops of Norwich supporting the charity; following his predecessors, Maurice Wood, Peter Nott and Graham James. He was unanimously invited to be one of three vice-patrons at the Trust’s latest quarterly council meeting.
Since 1976 when the Norfolk Churches Trust was founded, it has raised more than £6.5m including £2.7m from the highly-successful annual Bike Ride. Funds raised by the Trust go towards maintaining Norfolk churches of all denominations.
In the past 43 years, the Trust has awarded more than £4m in grants to Norfolk churches as the charity’s royal patron, the Prince of Wales noted in a welcome letter to delegates at last month’s national conference of church conservation groups at Norwich cathedral.
The Norfolk Churches Trust awarded £182,000 in grants to 48 parishes last year and at the latest November council meeting gave a further £74,000 to 15 churches in the county.
Peter Sheppard, chairman of the Trust, said that Norfolk has a remarkable heritage of 659 medieval churches – the greatest concentration of historic churches in western Europe. “There is a massive challenge to care for the country’s heritage of religious buildings. In the Church of England there were about 16,000 churches of which 12,500 are listed and 45 per cent grade I listed,” he said.
“The Norfolk Churches Trust was founded to maintain and conserve around 900 churches. We face an ever-greater challenge to care for these hugely-important churches and to raise funds to help maintain them. We really appreciate the support from so many to help the trust in its efforts,” he added.
Photograph courtesy of Diocese of Norwich.