“The Light of the World” : Put life into your Church – and deter thieves – with this simple, low-cost change to your lighting

Does your church have a porch or other outside light fitting? If so, advances in light bulb technology now make it both easy and affordable to have the light on during ALL the hours of darkness all the time. This gives the church a sense of life even when it is not in use for services, literally “the Light of the World”, as well as providing a useful deterrent effect to potential malefactors.

All it requires is the one off purchase of one of the new Dusk to Dawn long life, low wattage light bulbs. These are available from any good electrical stockist and should last at least five years. Several brands are available. The bulbs contain a built-in light sensor which automatically cuts the current during daylight hours.

St Mary’s East Raynham

The pictures are of St Mary’s, East Raynham. The porch light is “on” all year but the lightbulb only activates during the hours of darkness. Besides the one off cost of the bulb (£10-15), we estimate that the electricity cost of the 9w bulb is approximately £7.41 per year. This is calculated as follows: average electricity costs in Norfolk are 18.8p per kWh so the light costs 18.8p x 9/1000 or 0.1692p per hour to run. The light is on for an average of 12 hours per day throughout the year, giving an annual total of 4,380 hours. 0.1692p x 4,380 = 741p i.e. £7.41 for the whole year.

Some other things to bear in mind:

  • whether your existing porch light is a bayonet or screw fitting, make sure to buy an appropriate new bulb.
  • leave the porch light switch in the “on” position and cover it in gaffer or similar tape so that it doesn’t inadvertently get switched off.
  • best to get a “warm white” colour known technically as 3000k; a very white light can be a little stark.

Our churches are in very varied locations so this change to lighting may not be appropriate in all circumstances. However, in the three years the East Raynham porch light has been on every night, we have had nothing but positive comments.

James Hickman (East with West Raynham PCC)

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