Keeping your church open and welcoming
At Ecclesiastical, we want to encourage churches to unlock their visitor potential! We are often asked whether churches should be kept locked at all times. Our answer is no, provided the right precautions have been taken. Indeed, we recommend, where appropriate that churches are kept open because of the positive effect that has on security.
Advice for churches
We support the Church of England Cathedral and Church Buildings Council’s drive to help churches be “Always Welcome” - and we suggest you take a look at their top ten tips for encouraging church visitors as a starting point.
We have also been working with some top experts on keeping churches open. Andrew Duff of Inspired North East has written about his experiences for our newsletter Church Matters read a longer version of his article here.
Of course security can still be a concern; one solution can be found in these articles by Joanna Booth, Consultant on Open Churches about Preston ChurchWatch.
Tips for being open and secure
Churches wanting to be open need to find the right balance between accessibility and security. This means taking a few key steps:
Carry out a full risk assessment
Ensure local residents know that the church is operating an open door policy so that they can observe activity
Encourage local people to pop into the church while passing by
Draw up a rota of volunteer stewards to be present in church - but don’t forget to consider their personal safety if for example, they might be alone in a church at any time
Create a secure storage area in which all valuables can be locked.
Make sure you read our open churches fact sheet for more detailed advice. You may also find it valuable to read our health and safety guidance .
Will being open affect insurance premiums?
There is no impact on the church insurance premiums if a church is open during daylight hours and proper risk assessments have been completed.
If you have any concerns speak with our customer services team on 0345 777 3322.