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Faith in the Future?

22nd October 2020 @ 9:15 am - 12:15 pm

Faith in the Future? – Historic Places of Worship in the Aftermath of COVID-19

 9.15am – 12.15pm, 22nd October 2020

Your Historic Places of Worship Forum invites you to join a digital event – Faith in the Future? – as we work together to ensure that our places of worship survive the challenges brought about by the current pandemic.

The future of our buildings appears more uncertain than ever as lockdown restrictions are re-imposed in much of Wales. Yet, while causing untold disruption in all of our lives, innovation born of necessity has been one of the unexpected consequences of the global pandemic. As Welsh congregations adapt to the post COVID-19 world we see an opportunity to reflect on how places of worship have responded – and will continue to respond – to the ‘new normal’.

Strange as it may sound, congregations have reacted to the crisis in extraordinary and exciting ways. At this event we intend to capture everyday stories of innovation and inspiration that have been the hallmark of community responses in these unprecedented times. All of us have experienced new ways of communicating and working over recent months. It is only natural, therefore, that we also consider the future of our historic sites at this time of transition.

The Historic Places of Worship Forum would welcome the opportunity to hear what you need to secure the future for your place of worship. The programme is designed to be of practical value to congregations facing difficult questions.

Hosted online to engage the widest possible audience, it will provide an opportunity to learn from the experience of others facing similar challenges and uncertainties. Many faith groups will have been having similar discussions at a local, regional or national level. The Forum aims to share this learning beyond individual denominations and faiths. This event is intended as an opportunity to share experiences, ask questions and provide feedback.

The day will combine micro-presentations sharing local examples and question and answer sessions exploring three themes:

  • Digital Places of Worship – from streaming acts of worship to online giving, how have places of worship engaged with new technologies?
  • Community Places of Worship – from pop-up foodbanks to new night shelters, how do we adapt community response measures in the post-pandemic world?
  • Physical Places of Worship – while community spaces are needed more than ever, what are the practical implications for places of worship when reopening?

To book at no charge, follow this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dS7WnEyZTRSBMAd5U0H-Wg

We are keen to make this event inclusive across different denominations, faiths and regions in Wales. Please feel free to share news of this event to anyone who might be interested.

For more information please contact your representative on the Historic Places of Worship Forum detailed below.

Share your lockdown story!

Many of our older places of worship have witnessed historic pandemics with historians left to wonder how local communities responded to the ‘plagues’ of centuries past. Ahead of the event we asking for examples photographs and captions that encapsulate your place of worship’s lockdown story.

Please send images and captions to Andrea Griffiths by Friday 9th October 2020 @ Andrea.Griffiths@gov.wales


  • 9.15-9.25am: Arrivals, meet & greet.
  • 9.25-9.35am: ‘Explanation of Digital Event’ – Christopher Catling, Chairperson of the Historic Places of Worship Forum
  • 9.35-9.50am: ‘Welcome’ – Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Welsh Government

First session: We will explore our three themes – digital, community and physical places of worship – by reflecting on responses to the pandemic.

  • 9.50-10.05am: ‘Observations on the “digital church” from the Catholic Parish of All Saints’ – Fr. Michael Doyle, All Saint Parish, Newport, Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff.
  • 10.05-10.20am: ‘A lockdown story from a rural chapel’ – Maesyronnen Congregation, United Reform Church
  • 10.20-10.35am: ‘The Glamorgan Heritage Coast Benefice during COVID-19’ – Revd Canon Edwin Counsell, Glamorgan Heritage Coast Benefice, Diocese of Llandaff, Church in Wales
  • 10.35-10.50am: Q&A and digital polls – Rev. Aled Edwards, Cytûn

Ten-minute break

Second session: We will explore our themes looking forward to how places of worship might respond to the post-pandemic landscape.

  • 11.00-11.15am: ‘Opening Places of Worship’ – Chris Catling, Chairperson of the Historic Places of Worship Forum
  • 11.15-11.30am: ‘Use it or Lose it: Why Church Tourism Matters’ – Caroline Welch, National Churches Trust
  • 11.30-11.45am: ‘Re-thinking Ministry’ – Revd Canon Nia Morris of the Mission Area of Cedewain, Diocese of St Asaph, Church in Wales
  • 11.45-12.00 noon: Q&A and digital polls – Rev. Aled Edwards, Cytûn
  • 12.00-12.15pm Closing remarks and next steps

About the Forum

The Welsh Places of Worship Forum was established in 2015 to support the future of historic religious buildings across Wales. Its membership includes representatives from a range of organisations and statutory agencies concerned with faith and heritage that are either based in Wales or operating in Wales. The Forum aims to share information and best practice, and review ongoing needs across the sector. It is actively exploring ways in which to provide effective support to those involved in caring for historic places of worship.

It currently has around 25 members, and meets approximately three times a year. Meetings are held across Wales, at chapels and churches which have been restored, renovated or converted, so members can see examples of best practice.

The Forum has been bringing people together for five years, to listen and learn from each other. It shares information and contributes to the development of initiatives that encourage access and engagement with faith buildings, whether through tourism or other supporting uses.


22nd October 2020
9:15 am - 12:15 pm
Event Category: