Friday, 11 September 2009

Churches open doors to share rich heritage

From magnificent cathedrals to humble rural chapels, churches across Wales will be opening their doors this weekend to welcome visitors and show off Wales’ rich ecclesiastical heritage.

More than 150 churches will be taking part in Open Churches Day on Saturday (Sept 19). While many of them are open for visitors all the year round, this is an opportunity for them to highlight and celebrate the treasures most of us miss or take for granted, as well as look at important social documents, such as baptism and marriage registers. There will be guided tours, food and drink, exhibitions, activities for children and special services to welcome visitors.

The event is organised by Churches Tourism Network Wales which has details of churches taking part on its website,

The Bishop of St Davids, the Rt. Rev Wyn Evans, supports the initiative, now in its third year. He says,

“I welcome this Open Church Day which encourages people to visit Wales’ wonderful heritage of historic churches. Our Churches are gifts to be shared with the many. They are places of worship, but also they tell the story of our communities through the generations, reminding us who we are and where we have come from.

“It may not be feasible to have all our churches open most of the time but it is possible for most of them to be open some of the time. Open Churches Day provides us with a particular occasion for this to happen. What witness to God does an almost permanently padlocked building give to those who wish to visit it?”

“The Visitors Book is a reminder that an open church is greatly valued by all sorts of visitors for a wide variety of reasons.”

Professor Eleri Jones, director of tourism research in Cardiff School of Management at UWIC, says,

“It is encouraging that so many small and not so small churches are making September 19th a special day by encouraging visitors to experience the heritage and stories lying within these buildings. Local communities have a very important role to play in welcoming the visitor and highlighting the special story and history of their local area."


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