St Michael and All Angels in Bishop’s Cleeve is celebrating after achieving two awards in the space of a month, relating to the care of their Grade I listed church building: a National Church Award and an Eco Church Silver Award.
Last month, the churchwarden team discovered they had been selected as a finalist in the National Church Awards 2023 – an initiative by the National Churches Trust, hailed as ‘the BAFTA for churches’. St Michael’s won the Nayler Award for Excellence in Church Maintenance (England) and will receive a prize of £2,500.
At the awards ceremony, co-presenter Hugh Dennis said, “As well as being organised and having good foresight, the judges loved that they remember to thank everyone; it’s even written in their plan!”
Ann Jessop, churchwarden at St Michael’s, says: “The churchwarden team is guided by our surveyor and by our Diocesan Advisory Committee Secretary, who both keep us on track to make sure our Grade 1 listed building is maintained to the highest possible standards. There is always something new to learn. The fabric of this place is precious, unique and beautiful.”
The volunteer team have composed their own bespoke maintenance plan and it is used every month.
Ann says, “This is not just an ancient building, but a place of worship for the last 800 years. We aim to hand it down to the next generation in good order, in all its glory. Every year we are maintaining and repairing many aspects of the church while at the same time we remember to be accessible, open, welcoming and pioneering from this base. It is a privilege to be part of this complicated work.”
Not only are they celebrating this achievement, but Ann also received confirmation that the church had achieved its Eco Church Silver Award, having only achieved Bronze in July.
The Revd Tim Garratt says, “The National Church Award is significant because it marks the culmination of many years of hard work by a large number of volunteers who love our beautiful building and its mission. They never expected to be recognised, but it is lovely that their years of devoted service have been acknowledged both by the wider church and by the expressions of joy on our social media channels. They are such a brilliant team!
“I’m also thrilled that St Michael’s has achieved the Eco Church Silver Award this month, an extraordinary achievement which demonstrates a greater depth of engagement with the principles of Eco Church and a wider breadth of commitment within the church and the community.”
The church is opening on Saturday 18 November as part of the National Churches Trust’s ‘Visit your finalist day‘, which encourages everyone to visit any of the 45 nominated churches close to them.
St Michael’s will be open from 10am until 6pm, where stewards will welcome people who have come to explore the building and find out more about it. Find out more here.
Registering for Eco Church is easy, visit: Eco Church in an hour