devon historic churches "ride and stride"
Our Devon churches are the jewels in the heart of our communities
Gems come in all shapes and sizes and for most of us, something we can only aspire to. However, we all have one in our midst which is often taken for granted – the parish church!
These glorious buildings created by our forebears with enormous skill are not only one of the most outstanding features in our communities, if you step inside you will discover our rich heritage of craftsmanship, with examples of skills rarely seen elsewhere and of immense beauty and creativity.
The importance of these buildings is undeniable; representing history, architecture and continuity through the generations; a place of quiet contemplation in times of personal crisis or thanksgiving at the end of a life; a place for celebration at a time of birth or marriage and even for those who do not attend regular services, they provide a spiritually uplifting occasion to come together with ones neighbours at Easter, Festivals and Christmastide.
However, the fine fabric and creative craftsmanship are not the only gems to be found in our local churches. Praises should undoubtedly be sung for the volunteers who work so hard to maintain, refurbish and enhance them day by day, year after year in myriad ways. The challenges they face are never-ending and constantly changing; illustrating considerable strength, ingenuity and determination in their fight against their exposure to the elements, the endless need to raise funds to cover running costs and the weighty load of increasing and complex regulations. And then – the tower shows a fault line, the tiles slip away, dry rot is found in the fabric – a multitude of horrors appear, all requiring extra grit and resources from these human treasures at the heart of our communities.
At times like these our churches need all the friends they can garner – and amongst them is the Devon Historic Churches Trust, which is dedicated to funding repairs for the preservation of our Christian architectural heritage. Like our parish communities, it is a volunteer organisation working hard to raise funds so that a vital life-line of financial aid can be provided to our Devon churches in their time of need. The ethos of the trust is ‘never to say no’ to any application within its remit. It is very aware of the complex nature of funding applications required by other sources, so the DHCT has a simple, easily accessible format for each church. This enables funds to be awarded with the maximum speed and the minimum of red tape. This brings its own challenges to the trust and its search for funding from supporters via donations, fundraising activities and legacies is unceasing, but unwavering, knowing that their mission is too important to allow it to fail.
So when you hear your church bell ringing out in West Hill, it is good to remember the network of hardworking local volunteers working day by day to ensure the church survives; the skilled professionals who deliver the work required in enabling these unique and historic buildings to be there for future generations and the Devon Historic Churches Trust, dedicated to providing the vital financial support when it is needed.
Judith Kauntze - Devon Historic Churches Trust
Ride+Stride out and about in Delightful Devon on Saturday 14th September 2019.
In Devon, every year Ride+Stride is a very important part of the Devon Historic Churches Day. Devon is an amazing place to live – how lucky we are to have such wonderful countryside and coastline – added to which are our communities with parish churches at their heart. This makes the Ride+Stride event one of the most enjoyable activities imaginable in which to raise funds – and to support the valuable work of the Devon Historic Churches Trust in providing grants for our glorious, but vulnerable architectural gems.
Guide to Open Churches
Each year the DHCT produces a Guide to Open Churches (with postcodes and ‘facilities’!) showing all the churches open, arranged in geographical groupings, so you can plan your day; visiting churches by whatever means you wish, gaining sponsorship or sending a donation; nominating a church of your choice to benefit from 50% of your contribution.
Devon's churches have been a focal part of life in the county for centuries, providing both a spiritual and a physical focus for the communities they serve. They are an important part of the landscape and of our natural heritage.
By doing our bit we can ensure that they remain so.
Dust off your bike, pump up the tyres and get some practice in ready for September. You can cycle or walk as short or as long a distance as you wish.
More details to follow here over the Summer or "Contact Us"