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Site Sights: URC Buildings Forum

IBEX is aware we are but one of many sources of information and help in developing wider engagement for faith and community organisations. Our updated mission guide references to signposting to other useful resources. We would like to continue that in our Newsletter and blogs by introducing websites we have found interesting and useful.

This edition then introduces you to the United Reformed Church’s (URC) Building Forum’s website, which can be found at Whilst it does not claim to be a comprehensive guide to addressing all the issues that a Church, or faith community, might encounter in managing their property; it can act as a useful prompt to work through important issues when developing a building, enhancing the mission in the community or creating a faith group that seeks to engage others.

Originally, it was developed as a resource for URC Synod and local Church Property administrators. However, they have been encouraging the URC engaging with others (especially with partners in the Methodist Church) to think about the mission of the Church/faith community when exploring developing a building: hence the website has been updated with a view to be useful for a wider audience.

Those familiar with the development of a premises will recognise the importance of addressing the wider issues of vision and purpose when thinking about updating a property. Various online seminars on these matters took place over 2020 and 2021, which can be viewed from the cover page introducing the work of the Building Forum, with resulting conclusions and discussions.

In the videos, I found the thoughts of one URC Synod’s Mission and Property Officer, Martin Hayward, interesting on plans for developing Church buildings as Mission Projects: where the congregation has declined but wider community work continues. He determined to keep the building focussed as a ‘spiritual centre’, not just a community centre. This is soon going to become increasingly the situation for many URC and other Church groups/congregations. It will be interesting to see how this initiative develops.

These seminars are ongoing, I plan to attend and report back, so watch this space for further reflection, or contact me direct for more information.

Another sub section link (Mission and Buildings) takes you through the steps to consider as a community to address and engage in a successful development. Questions are asked like ‘Do we really need a building?’ and ‘How does the history and heritage of a community and its building shape how we think, believe, and act for the common good?

But it is not just theoretical, as some case studies of successful developments are given: which any group with a building they are responsible for developing would find useful, whether they be a faith community or not. Also of interest, is the final link heading from the title page, to other organisations and sources of help, giving links for further advice and signposting where to seek funding. It does not claim to be comprehensive guide, but it provides a good start to the sort of issues and questions one needs to explore.

We hope this whets your appetite and if there is another website we can feature and introduce, then do let us know. Even better, why not write an intro for us as to why you find it useful and inspiring? We can share and signpost your thoughts through this Newsletter and IBEX’s website and blogs.

If you have not done so already, sign up for our newsletter here for up-to-date information and blogs before they are published on our Facebook group. You will also have access to exclusive information and articles from our diverse team.

Rev Tim Clarke

Church in Community Officer


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