A special message of congratulations by the Prince of Wales has praised the Norfolk Churches Trust.
The charity’s patron, Prince Charles said: “I am enormously proud of how much has been achieved over the past 43 years.”
He sent this message to about 100 delegates and speakers at the first national conference, which was hosted by the Norfolk Churches Trust at Norwich Cathedral.
A dozen speakers considered “A future for the isolated rural church” under the Faith & Place conference theme on Wednesday, October 16.
It was opened by the chairman Peter Sheppard, who welcomed the trust’s president, Lord Dannatt, and the Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges.
Prince Charles, wrote: “The county of Norfolk is blessed not only with an incomparable landscape, but also with one of the greatest treasures of this country’s heritage – the largest concentration of medieval churches in Europe.”
“Whether magnificent or humble, whether decorated or plain, whether isolated or in the heart of a settlement, these churches manage to make the already magical countryside even more beautiful, even as they remind us all of the faith which has always been so much a part of life in this very special part of the world.”
“As patron of the Norfolk Churches Trust, I am enormously proud of how much has been achieved over the past 43 years to ensure that these wonderful buildings remain open for worship and, increasingly, that innovative and appropriate community uses are found for them.
“The Norfolk Churches trust has in its care 13 churches that might have been lost without active intervention.”
“Our churches are facing increasing challenges to remain viable and open to all and I feel most strongly that this conference is particularly timely, as it tries to address matters so pressing to the future vitality of our country parishes.”
“As you take forward this immensely important work, I hope and pray you will be able to ensure that these precious symbols of our past will continue top lay a vital part in our future.”