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Robin Sones
UK News

Churches missing out on millions of pounds because of empty rooms

by Antony Bushfield

A new report from the Centre for Theology and Community also warns that valuable contact time with neighbours is being lost.

'Assets not Burdens: Using church property to accelerate church mission' found that in the London borough of Islington most church space lies empty for the majority of a week.

"In a city where the value of space is so high, churches are sitting on huge assets which have great potential to be used more," the report says.

Figures show that church halls are empty for 57 per cent of the week whilst worship spaces lie unused 69 per cent of the time and the figure is even higher for meeting rooms, at 75 per cent.

The report says that each church could generate an additional £64,000 in revenue by opening up more often.

It says: "Church buildings are often viewed as a burden. The solution lies in recognising their potential for mission - which leads to church growth. We need a change of mind set.

"We propose a new enterprise-based approach - a pilot social enterprise which would help these churches to market and manage their spaces and get them into greater use, whilst generating an income for the church as well.

"We are in early discussions with potential partners."

The report praised some larger churches for making the most of their space during the week and said that other churches can learn from their example.

Gavin Turnbull co-founded the Ark Co-working space at offices inside the King's Cross Church in central London.

He told Premier that opening the doors to people in the community was a great idea, especially in churches which remain quiet during the week.

He said: "I personally just long to see life and people who wouldn't walk into a church building walking in Monday – Friday when it's otherwise sitting dormant.  In my personal opinion I'd say let's open the doors and get people in."

Listen to Marcus Jones speaking to Gavin Turnbull here:

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