Members of the public are being invited to nominate their favourite church or chapel in Wales, for the Sacred Wales (Cymru Sanctaidd) project. From a list nominated by churches and chapels and religious and heritage organisations, members of the public can choose from fifty from all over Wales.
Created by the National Churches Trust, the Sacred Wales project aims to raise awareness of Wales' religious heritage and encourage people to explore the country's many churches and chapels.
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Churchs in the running for the vote include St David’s Cathedral; Capel Als, the first Nonconformist place of worship in Llanelli; and St Winefried, Holywell, a shrine marking the spot where where Caradog cut off Winefride's head in the 7th century and one the oldest continual pilgrimage sites in Britain.
Sacred Wales video
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Sacred Wales /Cymru Sanctaidd from National Churches Trust on Vimeo.
How to place your vote
Voting runs until 31 August 2017 and you can place your vote at the Sacred Wales website. The winning church or chapel will be announced on 28 September 2017 and will receive a ‘SacredWales’ - ‘Cymru Sanctaidd’ trophy, together with a cheque for £500.
The future of Wales' churches and chapels
Once the centre of Welsh society, many churches and chapels are still vital for community life. However, the job of looking after religious buildings is becoming harder as congregations decline.
The Supporting Places of Worship in Wales Survey 2017 a new report produced by the National Churches Trust, published in July 2017, highlights some of the problems being faced by many Welsh churches and chapels.
1. A severe shortage of volunteers to look after church and chapel buildings
Keeping churches and chapels open and in good repair is often up to volunteers. However, 50% of churches and chapels say that they are not attracting new volunteers due to dwindling congregations and a lack of young people.
2. A lack of skills needed to raise funds for repairs
60% of churches and chapels need funding from external sources to pay for repair and maintenance projects to keep their building in good condition. But fundraising skills are in short supply. 28% of churches and chapels have no experience at all of making funding applications and 54% little experience.
3. Churches and chapels want funding to help carry our regular maintenance
One of the best ways of preventing the need for expensive repairs is to carry our regular maintenance. But almost half of churches and chapels surveyed (44%) do not have a maintenance plan. And over three quarters of churches and chapels (78%) said they wanted help with funding to carry out maintenance.
For more information on the National Churches Trust, visit their website.