The Most Welcoming Churches Awards 2016
Over 80% of the population visit a church for one reason or another in the course of a year - which makes you think... how welcoming are our churches?
The Tourism and Open Churches Mission Action Team are looking for good practice which can be shared across the Diocese, and so have set up The Most Welcoming Churches Awards to recognise, encourage and promote churches that are being welcoming.
Nominate your church today
Simply nominate your church by contacting Caroline Rawlings with your Church's name and location, and include your contact details (your name, email and telephone).
You can do this online here, or by completing the form below and returning via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Caroline Rawlings, Diocesan House, 109 Dereham Road, Easton, Norwich, NR9 5ES.
Awards Nomination Form (if you don't wish to nominate online) (.doc / 1009kb)
What are we looking for?
We are on the search for the most welcoming church for parishioners, casual visitors and tourists who stop by to explore your church.
The judges recognise that some church buildings have more to offer given their size, historic artefacts, place in the community and status. But assets do not necessarily make them welcoming. Here is a list of criteria that the judges will be looking for.
There is no expectation that all churches will be able fulfil every one of these criteria – it is a matter of making the best of what each church has to offer.
- Be open: or at least make it clear when the church is open.
- How inviting is the church? Are there signs that indicate the church is open?
- The church as a place of worship. The judges will be looking for places to pray and be still, and an indication about when and how the community worships.
- How hospitable is the church? Not every church can offer teas and coffees from high grade kitchens, but do you have a dog bowl...
- How good are the church notice boards? Is the information displayed up to date and informative?
- What is the first impression at the church gate? How clean and tidy is a church building? The criteria are not about the quality of the paint work on the walls or shiniest brass but the overall care and love for the place of worship.
- Signs of welcome: A table with flowers, information about the church and community, and a visitor's book say much about the welcome.
- How interesting is the church? The judges will be looking for leaflets or guides that express the essence of the church rather than cold architectural details and lists of past vicars. Do you have free take away leaflets?
How will it work?
- The awards are open to every church or chapel within the Diocese of Norwich.
- The nomination form can be downloaded below, or completed online here
- The closing date is 31 March 2016
- Judging will be made by Mr Ken Grapes, The Revd Briant Smith and The Revd Paul Cubitt
- Churches will be visited between Easter and the end of July
- Judges will not be announcing when their visit will be and will use the criteria above
- Winners and commendations will be announced at an event at the time of Open Churches Week 2016
- Each church will receive a short report once judging has been completed. The report is intended to be helpful and not critical.