Church Support Societies

For a slightly different blog, I thought I’d discuss the church societies that I support, and why. This doesn’t mean that I don’t drop money into collection boxes and buy other fundraising items, but these are the societies that I am a paid up member of.

  1. Friends of Friendless Churches (FoFC)
  2. The Ecclesiological Society
  3. Friends of Essex Churches Trust

It would be lovely to support even more, but with the birth of our son, we did cut down somewhat on charitable donations, curbing the Kew Gardens and RSPB membership. In addition to two charities that I perpetually support, I maintained our donations to all of the church support groups, as I believe these are not as well supported as those in the mainstream hobby/interest areas.

I’ve listed the groups in the order of which I enjoy their publications. By default, as a member of FoFC, you are also a member of the Ancient Monuments Society, and 2-3 times a year you receive the AMS & FoFC Newsletter, as well as the annual publications of the society’s Transactions. Both of these titles are worth the membership money alone – which for an individual is now £30pa. The newsletters are about 60 pages, whilst the transactions are about 140 pages. Each contains news on buildings at risk, as well as updates on FoFC properties. I always keep an eye out for news on my personal Essex favourite – Mundon St Mary. There is only one other FoFC property in Essex – Wickham Bishops Old Church of St Peter. Whilst my primary interest is in the FoFC information, I do find the other building information fascinating. It’s like a condensed version of Restoration, with many saddened buildings needing a lot of care and attention.

The Ecclesiological Society is also worth being a part of – though their publications are unfortunately not quite as regular as that of the FoFC/AMS. Two or three times a year usually sees the publication of Ecclesiology Today – which generally contains 4-5 longer length articles of interest. By virtue of it’s very name, the Ecclesiological Society concentrates solely on church architecture and fabric. There is also a regular Church Crawler column – written by Phil Draper of Churchcrawler, which generally highlights churches at risk and their plight.

Occasionally, the Ecclesiological Society sends out full sized books to members, as part of their membership. These usually come as a complete surprise to me, as I tend not to read every drop of information supplied in the regular publications. In the time that I’ve been a member, the following full publications have been given to all members:

  • Pews, Benches & Chairs – Cooper & Brown
  • Sir Ninian Comper – Symondson & Bucknall
  • Temples – Worthy of His Presence – Christopher Webster

Lastly, the Friends of Essex Churches Trust is mainly concerned with supporting requests for grants, but does also offer several church guided tours each year. There is not as much in the way of publications from this trust – and I do not attend any of the tours, working full time – but I like to belong to support this very worthy cause.

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2 thoughts on “Church Support Societies”

  1. Hi John and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

    I was interested that you highlight the publications from the societies you support as being your favoutite bit of supporting them. I have a completely different perspective as I’ve joined the things I’m a member of mainly for the outings and visits. (Which I mainly get to, even though I work, when they’re not oversubscribed). I tend to read the Victorian Society magazine from cover to cover as it’s an easy read having so many lovely colour pictures in it. As for Ecclesoc , Churches Preservation Soc and Bucks Arch Soc, which I also belong toI find the publications far too detailed for my added brain to take in and really beyond my level of interest . In fact, have started to ask them not to send them as I don’t really have houseroom given I already have a room filled with my books collections to the extent that it’s difficult to get through the door, and would feel bad about them going straight into the recycling. If there’s anything you’d like me to pass on to you let me know!

    Best, Diane

  2. Hi Diane – and thanks for the response. It is always interesting to hear how different a perspective other people can have on things. For me, I find too little time to get actively involved nowadays – though I really must get back into some form of crawling more in 2014 than I did in either 2012 or 2013. Flicking through and speed reading the publications does at least make me feel like I am keeping myself in the loop a little.

    Re: the books offer – I’d probably have to decline, as I have too little space just now. That said, if there were some ‘must haves’ in the collection, I’d probably bite your arm off – but without knowing, it’s difficult to say.

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