How Church Maintenance Can Help Your Community

Four ways that your church’s community can benefit from maintenance.

Many church owners like to see themselves as above such things as ‘maintenance’ – these people believe that the archaic nature of their buildings are part of their charm and therefore should be retained in someway.

Those who forgo maintenance for this reason, or any other, should remember that the longer they delay the upkeep of their building the more difficult (and more costly) the job will eventually be.

There are many benefits to regularly maintaining your church, these vary from the glaringly obvious to the more subtle. We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the reasons why you should keep your church regularly maintained and how it could help your community in the long run:

Maintaining your church makes it more attractive

Whilst some may prefer the ornate majesty of a dilapidated church, the truth is that no one wants to spend time in an old, dusty building. By hiring a team to maintain your church on a regular basis, you can guarantee that your building remains in good nick, keeping it (hopefully) looking as grand as it did when it was first built. Also, your community will be much more likely to make use of the spaces in your building if you keep them looking good.

Church maintenance is key to keeping your religious establishment relevant and safe.

The church is the wellspring of your community’s spiritual well-being. It is the peaceful centre of your patrons’ lives and should always feel like home to them. Despite this, one of the most important things about your church should be it’s safety standards. If your church is not a safe place to spend time in then why should anyone even think of praying there? Maintaining your church is crucial to keeping safety standards high and should never be underestimated.

Local people can benefit from employment

Church maintenance doesn’t always have to be performed by out of town teams. Most of the time you’ll be able to hire local people to do the small jobs around your church, this achieves the dual result of successfully maintaining your church and helping out your community. There are plenty of cleaning business opportunities present in a church, everything from polishing the floors to the cleaning the oven can be taken on by local people and will go a long way to strengthening your church’s ties with the community.

Sustain the pride that your community has in your church

The congregation of your church should be proud of where they pray. As we all know taking too much pride in anything is not godly, however there is righteousness in taking a certain amount of civic pride in your church building. By regularly maintaining your church, whether that’s by simply keeping it clean or upholding safety standards, you can help to keep your congregation truly proud of their church.

If you’d like help or advice on how to keep your church maintained then you can contact us through this website.

The Problems with Church Kitchens

For many people it’s up to debate if places of worship should offer functioning kitchens within their hallowed grounds.

The concept of a church, for most people, is defined by convention – they are considered to be places of worship, only suitable for pews, an altar and a font.

After all, if traditionalism belongs anywhere, then it belongs in the church, an institution whose roots run deep into the historical fabric of our country. Although it’s hard to believe that such conventions are enforced so regimentally in this day and age it’s important to remember that, for many church goers, the idea of installing a kitchen in the back of a centuries old religious building will be preposterous for some and down-right offensive to others.

As much as a fully-functioning kitchen can aid a church greatly by supporting their community groups and providing catering facilities for event hire – a new kitchen build can also prove to be the cause of many problems in the future:

Decor in line with church

It might seem antecedent to the deep nature of religion, but the dissonance between the aesthetics of a modern kitchen and the original decor can often be enough to blight a church for the rest of its existence. Installing a modern kitchen that fits in with the rest of the building’s architecture can be an expensive endeavour and might well cost much more than most committees have the stomach for.

Cost of ongoing maintenance

Once a kitchen is built it must be maintained. We’ve often found that church kitchens are used much more than domestic kitchens, this inevitably leads to misuse and degradation. Unfortunately, as is often the case with communal spaces, damage can be done over long periods of time which goes unreported, resulting in potentially dangerous hazards developing, not to mention expensive repair bills.

Appliance misuse and failure

The costs of fitting a kitchen do not end when you’ve settled up with the builders. Once it’s been fitted you need to have it kitted out with all the necessary appliances that you’d expect: dishwasher, kettle, microwave. All of these items need to be robust enough to last repeated use and resist damage – usually expensive, catering-standard appliances are the only real option. Buying second hand or on the cheap could cost more in the longer oven and it could be embarrassing should a paying group call to report the Lamona oven not heating up.

Irrevocable change to building

The main problem builders and designers have with fitting kitchens is getting the permission to make the changes in the first place. Older churches are usually listed which essentially means reels of red tape that block all manner of development. Simply put: trying to get a functional, modern kitchen installed in an old church can be next to impossible unless you have smart (usually expensive) designs and the connections with the council to get it approved.

Should you still want to get your kitchen built or you need help maintaining your existing one, you can contact us here for some further advice. 

Breaking Boundaries: What is Church?

Here’s a little exercise that you can try the next time that you’re in Church.

Once your’re settled in your pew with your prayer book on your lap, turn to your neighbour and ask them this questions:

‘What is church?’

Whilst they might answer you with a rather straight-forward answer like: ‘Church is here, you are in church,’ try and persevere by really stressing the word ‘is’. Hopefully they’ll then understand that you are asking them a philosophical question and will spend some time thinking about a more detailed, thoughtful answer. If they answer with something along the lines of ‘Church is here’ or ‘We are in church’, them move on to a different person.

The person who finally does understand your question will no doubt be confused but will gamely try and respond in a way that will (hopefully) make themselves looks smart. The smartest ones are likely to answer your question with another question like: ‘That depends on what you define a church as.’ In the event of this occurrence, you can consult this resource to show them all of the things that a church can be defined as.

Church is Sanctuary

Everyone remembers the beginning of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notredam – there’s an iconic moment in these opening scenes where Quasimodo’s mother, who’s being chased through the street, bangs her fists on the door of a church for sanctuary which she is denied. Unfortunately, despite times having changed so much since then people still rely on churches around the world as sanctuaries.

Church is Community Hub

Most importantly, in today’s increasingly secular world the church is a crucial place for people to meet and share common interests. Whether this is a small knitting group or a Rock’n’Roll choir, churches are fantastic, calm places for groups of people to convene. For decades now churches have been open to all kinds of people, regardless of their religion, it’s a way for church buildings to remain relevant despite the declining numbers of church goers.

Church is Entertainment

It might sound blasphemous to some but there’s always been an entertainment aspect to church services. Just think of Gospel Choir services with their dramatic singers and urgent preachers – these kinds of services are much more akin to theatrical performance than anything else, whilst the congregations will be getting a certain amount of spiritual enlightenment out of the proceedings they are also being entertained.

Church is Party Venue

What is a party but a celebration? It’s a place where we go to celebrate the lives of people, whether they’re getting married, dying or just getting going in life. For centuries churches have been places to party. Since the modern age has dawned churches have been hired out as venues for secular events such as birthdays, anniversaries – this has turned the concept of a church from peaceful place of worship to potentially party central.

So what is church?

Church is many things – most importantly, church is for you.

How To Avoid an Unnecessary Church Closure

Sometimes there’s really nothing that can be done.

Church maintenance should be constantly ongoing, safeguarding your building so that it will not fall into disrepair.

We’re often presented with cases where maintenance has been so sporadic that a building is quite simply on the verge of collapse. In some cases it’s easy to see how it happens, years can pass by quickly and small jobs can often transform from the tiniest of cracks to structural threatening nightmares. But what lies at the source of these small jobs that get ignored?

The discovery of a major problem in a church can cause a great deal of stress to both parishioner, sometimes leading to an unhelpful witch hunt with members seeking to find out whose fault the problem is. As with many issues in community-based buildings, responsibility usually lies with a number of people who have chosen to ignore the issue, rather than any one individual.

The best way to avoid a situation like this is by laying in place a fool-proof upkeep plan for your church:

Select a committee

The first thing to do is collect a team of individuals from your parish who have both the skills and free-time to aid with upkeep. A team of four or six people is enough for this, the important thing is that each person has the time needed to inspect the church thoroughly and convene at planned meetings. Ideally you’ll have a specialist in your committee who has some building or maintenance experience, allowing you to make astute assessments of your building before having to call in assistance.

Delegate roles

As with any committee, you’ll all need to take on certain role to ensure that all the bases are covered. As this is a specific team based around maintenance, it’s a good idea to divide the different aspects of the church that need to be looked after: Plumbing, Electrics, Church Property and Building Condition. Once these roles are divided out, it’s up to each team member to keep an eye on their respective departments and report their findings.

Meet regularly

Setting up regular meetings is a great way of keeping everyone accountable for their responsibilities. A weekly or bi-monthly meeting can give each member of the committee an opportunity to raise any concerns that I have, it’s important that you have this chance to discuss problems together as often these departments will have a significant effect on each other. Make notes of your meeting so that you can take the most important points and find a way to put them into action.

Feedback to church authorities

Feeding back your findings to the main Church committee is vital if you wish to enact any kind of preventative measures in your church. There’s no point collecting information on the disrepair of your church if you’re simply going to watch it get worse – make your voice heard so that you can galvanise your committee into taking positive preventative action and help keep your church running.…

Electrical Warning Signs That You Should Pay Attention To

There are many things that can go wrong with a church over time…

…the electrics are usually the main offenders in 20th Century builds.

It can be easy to overlook the deteriorating state of your church’s electrical infrastructure. After all, unless there are obvious risk like loose wires or flickering lights, you might not be aware that you even have a problem. Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of religious buildings that are simply shut down after failing a basic electrical inspection.

There are a whole range of different risks that faulty or aged electrical wiring can cause your building. Just the smallest error made by the original electricians, decades ago, could potentially put your congregation and other church users at risk. Of course, the level of degradation of your wiring depends on when your church was built – if you’re in any doubt as to the state of your church electrics then you should consider calling a registered electrician in to fully test and asses your church.

Here are just a few of the warning signs you should look out for that could suggest that your church’s electrics need inspecting:

Constantly tripping circuit board

Is power constantly being cut in your church? Do you find that your priest is constantly running to the back to reset the circuit breaker? If so, there could be a chance that you have a serious problem with your church’s electrics. It might well be that you simply have too many appliances running though the circuit at one point, however it could also indicate that you have a short circuit somewhere in the building – if in doubt, get it checked.

Sparking sockets/breakers

Electricity is a powerful element that can cause serious harm, if you see a spark then you should contact an electrician immediately. There are many reasons why sparks could be coming from your sockets or breakers, it could be that an ac to dc power supply needs to be installed to control the flow of electricity from the National Grid. It could also suggest that your appliances are broken or in need of replacement, get everything checked out if in doubt.

Burning smells or smoke

If you ever detect an acrid burning smell or see white smoke appear when you turn on a light or an appliance, then you should immediately turn off/unplug the offending light or appliance at the mains. Electrical fires can often start without any kind of warning, so it’s important to act quickly and call an electrician to inspect the entire place.

Wiring hidden in walls or under floor boards can can slowly heat and degrade over time which can lead to a serious fire risk – this is why it’s important to check your electrics on an annual basis.

Failing to get your church’s electrics tested regularly is a negligent action which could potentially harm your congregation.

Never take a risk – always err on the side of caution.

Taking Heed: Working on Hallowed Grounds

Getting renovation work completed on holy grounds can be tricky at times…

…you never know how your actions as a workman, might be perceived by others, making working on a religious site potentially a great deal more hazardous than your average construction site.

Us workmen can often be a coarse bunch. We don’t care too much whether we offend others, we can be loud and (sometimes) a little insensitive. In a usual construction site environment these qualities would not necessarily be an issue. However, as soon as we step into a religious environment, the smallest of off-hand comments has the potential to cause a huge amount of offence and even create an impassable rift between the client (the church and congregation) and your own outfit.

With this in mind, we’ve collected together a few of the pitfalls that have the potential of causing such interpersonal problems between workmen and religious folk. Some of these issues are easily avoidable, whereas others might require a bit of careful training with your men:

Paying respect to the worshippers

This may seem like a pretty basic rule, but you’d be surprised how many workmen make this mistake, often on the first day on-site. Now, we’re certainly not trying to suggest here that religious people are more easily offended than non-religious people, however it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to figure out that those with a more regimented moral system are more likely to be offended by a demographic of people that (sometimes) pride themselves on their lack of political correctness.

Completing work quickly and effectively

It goes without saying that a good construction outfit will finish their work in a timely and orderly fashion, however the need for haste is even greater when working in a religious setting because of the level of demand that the building is under. Just think of all the events that take place in a church: christenings, weddings, regular services and we’re not even considering community activities. In order to minimise disruption to the community, it’s imperative that work is completed as quickly as possible.

Retaining the spirit of the building

When making important, irrevocable changes to a religious building it’s really important to consider the overall spirit of the building. Many churches exist unchanged for decades, or sometimes even centuries, making a radical aesthetic change might well create problems with the congregation, so it’s always a good idea to sound out your ideas with the priest as well as members of the Church committee. This group of people will have the best interests of the congregation at heart and should have an understanding of what the congregation would appreciate and what they would dislike.

Areas that are off-limits

Finally, rules concerning where members of the public (including work men) are allowed to go to will vary from church to church. Before you start any work on a new religious site it’s a good idea to have a sit-down discussion with the church elders as to where you and your men will be allowed to go and where is strictly off-limits. By doing this at the start of the process you can find a way of avoiding any embarrassing situations later on and you’ll also have the opportunity to raise potential logistical issues which may cause trouble down the line.