Church Recorders are volunteers who record the contents of our national churches, helping to preserve the artistic heritage to be found in places of worship. This can include the internal furnishings and some of the fabric.
Church Recorders research the history of the items in the Church they are working on and describe them in detail. All the material is then compiled into a book illustrated with photographs and drawings. This is presented to the church and copies are sent to other institutions such as the County Record Office and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The detailed record helps custodians of our places of worship to become more aware of the significance of items in their care and encourages conservation and protection of our heritage.
The NADFAS Church Recording scheme began in 1973. Since 1973, The Arts Society’s Church Recorders have undertaken a vital role in recording the past for the future by promoting recognition and preservation of our rich artistic heritage, held in places of worship of all denominations and religions, throughout the United Kingdom. To date, 1908 churches in the UK have been recorded by 2,000 recorders
Volunteering as a Church Recorder
Volunteers work as part of a team, recording items in a local church, usually working in pairs on different sections of the church furnishings: for example, memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings, stained glass etc.
It takes, on average, about three years to complete a church record. We would expect volunteers to commit to several hours a month but some volunteers will have more time than others and arrangements for recording can be flexible.
Enthusiasm and commitment are essential. Expertise in areas such as photography can be useful but not necessary Full training and ongoing support is given to all volunteers.
Volunteers do not need to belong to any particular church. We welcome volunteers of all faiths and those of no faith. Church recording is primarily about the appreciation and preservation of heritage and historic cultural artefacts. It can include places of worship of any denomination.
Our first Church Recording Project of the United Reformed Church on Clifton Drive (known locally as The White Church), was completed in the spring 2018. Our Society’s Church Recording volunteers have spent nearly six years cataloguing each item within the Church and its history. The result is a beautifully bound and gold blocked 119-page book, detailing items such as memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings and windows, enhanced with 93 photographs and line drawings. The Church Record was presented to the Church at a special service led by Rev David Phillip, which was held at the White Church on Sunday 6 May 2018.
Church Recording is a rewarding and absorbing activity, a good way to get to know other members and also great fun. Our group have been on trips led by our ex-Vice Chair Philip Bailey, around the Fylde and Wyre to see some amazing churches on our doorstep – the photo of the candlesticks above, for example, was taken at St John (The Willows) Kirkham. You can read more about our trips here or view the photos on our Flickr Page.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more about volunteering as a Church Recorder.