Last Friday we met with ten clergy members at their retreat house near Skipton in the snowy picturesque Yorkshire Dales to explore with the group the role of churches in communities, as well as different stakeholder roles and values in placemaking.
The East Yorkshire deanery geographic area spans a mix of rural, semi-rural, suburban and inner-city towns and villages, with a mix of agricultural communities, former mining communities, and housing estates.
With some of the clergy currently involved in building and refurbishment projects, one workshop activity explored the challenges and perceptions that churches face in the design and use of church buildings. Another activity explored how the church can become involved in community engagement and community led design as many parishes are also being affected by, or are involved in larger regeneration and development projects.
Through the workshop activity the group considered the impact that the location of a church building has as well as how a church building could be multi-functional. Overall, the groups were able to explore the opportunities, challenges and impact that growth and development has, on both the church and other stakeholders as well as how the places we live, work and play in are shaped.
We hope that our workshop with the group will support their work and thinking on the role of their buildings within the wider community.