SCTG Shropshire Churches Tourism Group Newsletter November 2023
Membership renewal: 2024 will be the beginning of the new 3 year membership -
2024/2025/2026. You will need to renew at the beginning of 2024, the new brochure will be
produced in time for the March AGM 2025. We have managed to keep the cost down to £60 for the
three years, although it will be tight.
Website latest www.discovershropshirechurches.co.uk
Same name but brand new design. Easy to access and
lots to look at. Check what fun and interesting events other churches are having to raise funds.
Why not advertise on the website? Upton Magna advertised its Country & Western Event in St
Lucia’s, and by letting SCTG know about it, we were able to advertise it on Facebook too;
churches in the Corvedale advertised their week long Music Festival at all of the buildings in the
group - again we added it to Facebook. Shrewsbury Cathedral advertised their joint venture with St
Mary’s Church in Shrewsbury featuring the stained glass work of Margaret Rope, responsible for
several stunning windows in the building. The talks about her work are no longer available but her
work is still there https://www.shrewsburycathedral.co.uk/history/ and scroll to 1910.
If you have a special event that you hope will attract lots of people please send details and/or a
copy of your flyer to firstname.lastname@example.org It will be added and advertised.
Your church magazine
Please use this paragraph about SCTG in your church magazine:
Shropshire Churches Tourism Group is a successful membership organisation which helps
churches to attract visitors to their buildings. Our buildings are already part of the Tourist offer in
Shropshire, just because they are there! Tourism contributes more than £500 million pounds to the
County economy. SCTG helps churches become visitor friendly, produces 30,000 full colour
brochures, distributed all over Shropshire and surrounding areas and offers support through the
website and Facebook and direct person response if needed. Next membership starts again in
2024, covering 2024/2025/2026 at a cost of £60. Renew, or if not already a member, then come
and join us.
Burwarton Show - SCTG had a stall at Burwarton Show this year. A church-shaped cake was a
big draw in itself and raised a little money as people tried to guess the weight. The winning weight
was 7lb 12oz and was won by Gail, who having links with Churchill House in Ludlow donated it to
share with residents at the nursing home, a treat for lots of people.
Keeping the door open - Please make every effort to ensure the door is kept open for visitors. All
valuables can be put away safely so you feel safe to leave it. People enjoy the peace and quiet.
Make sure the visitor book is available for their comments.
On this page you will find a monthly article written by your SCTG Secretary. It is currently sent to 7 group magazines in the County. You may find it a good read and enjoyable and you might think it would
be an added extra for your own magazine. The November article is on the website now
If your magazine editor would like to use it then please send details to
email@example.com who will pass it on to Anni Holden Calver, Secretary of SCTG and author of
SCTG Members' Newsletter Summer 2023
Latest news: New Website and Burwarton Show
We have a new modern website for SCTG. It is the same name as before, so have a look round, as you're here! There are lots of pictures; do open the top menu so you can see what SCTG offers you, and what is provided for visitors. Constructive suggestions are welcome, as is praise..
If you have a website of your own please add “Member of Shropshire Churches Tourism Group”, highlight it, and link it to our website.
If you do not have a website, do take advantage of your church page on the SCTG site. You can add pictures, other information about the building. and advertise upcoming events, eg open gardens. Just send what you want to add to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be added for you - yes just like that!
BURWARTON SHOW- 3rd AUGUST 2023 WV16 6RP Stand 151
For the first time ever SCTG has signed up for a pitch at Burwarton Show, one of the largest one day shows in the country. Your executive group decided that it was a good place to promote all the outstanding church buildings in our very popular brochure. It’s a great day out for all the family in the summer holiday break. Children under 12 are FREE, and if you buy tickets before the end of July it is £20 for adults. There is lots to see and do without spending a fortune. https://burwartonshow.co.uk/
Volunteers wanted for the Show. If you would like to volunteer a couple of hours during the day (9am – 6pm) we should be delighted to see you. Please let email@example.com know as soon as possible. Just 2 people would make things easier on the day but more are welcome.
Leaflets There is a nice new (to SCTG) professional leaflet/brochure dispenser which will
be used for the first time at Burwarton. If your church has some leaflets that they would like to display we will need to receive them by the day before 2nd August. Arrangements will be made when we know how many churches want to avail themselves of this offer, and their location.
BROCHURES - All churches should have enough brochures for this year, BUT if you need more do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and delivery or collection can be arranged. The brochure has been exceptionally popular this year, which is good news. Our brochure is now being used as the basis for organised tours to our churches from around the country.
Please share this newsletter with the PCC and print out and put on your Church notice board
SCTG Newsletter January 2023
Is your church ready for visitors?
The new year is well established and the days are slowly getting longer. This time of year is a good time to give the church building a tidy up and more, so by Easter when the tourist season begins, it will be ready for visitors. Welcome signs should be displayed (ask yourselves if it is time for a new one?). Do you have a simple A4 leaflet available? A Visitor book with some biros on show? (Count up how many visitors signed last year). More help and advice on the website.
This year’s AGM will be in Jackfield Village Hall on 24th March at 11am for a brief AGM followed by an executive meeting, and then to a local pub for lunch. We work on the basis of making a meeting a day out, and you are welcome to join us. Please let email@example.com know if you wish to join us for lunch. There is much see in the Ironbridge Gorge: Jackfield’s Tile Museum is worth a visit, as is St Mary’s church, a homage to the tile industry.
New executive member wanted
Would you like to join the volunteer group that ‘runs’ SCTG? We meet roughly 6
times a year, have lunch together at a local pub (not compulsory) so we get to know each other better. We are friendly and quite informal, BUT our main work is giving members the best support we can. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer or just try us out for one meeting before making a decision.
Need more brochures for this year? Contact email@example.com and ask for
some. We have plenty and the important thing is to get them out to people. We will be delivering between now and Easter so let us know if you want some.
Leaflet for your Church
A simple A4 piece of paper can be transformed into a folded leaflet for your church.
A bit of history and picture on the front; the middle could have a drawn outline of the building with numbers marking the special interests, linked to a description. The back page might be about a window, the font or a famous person connected to your church etc. Lots of scope and easily produced on any computer. Choose a coloured piece of paper when photocopying. This is a cheap option and helpful to visitors.
Remember a happy visitor is a generous one! If you would like some help with this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and someone can email or phone you.
Please share this newsletter with the PCC, and print out and put on Church
SCTG Newsletter Sept 2022
Apologies, the Conference has been cancelled
National Churches Tourism Conference
10th & 11th October 2022
Shrewsbury Abbey & Shrewsbury United Reformed Church
Time to sign up for this exciting event, local to you but national to everyone else! Go to https://discoverchurches.org.uk/ and just below the organ pipes, to the right of the welcome message you will see a blue box which says National Churches Tourism Conference – BOOK HERE. Click on this and you will find lots of information about the Conference, and at the bottom of the page, and in a yellow box the words, “To book tickets to attend in person or on line click here”. Do this and even more will be open to you. So get booking! The charge for delegates from Member Churches is £20; when it asks you for the promo code write MEMBER and the discount will be applied (the charge for non members is £40). The speakers lined up for 11th October are excellent:
Professor Catherine Clarke – Bringing History Alive
Director of the Centre for the History of People, Place and Community at the Institute of Historical Research and creator of the St Thomas Way pilgrim route from Swansea to Hereford.
Raising the awareness of churches in the rural landscape through the medium of television. He is an English archaeologist and television producer and presenter. Think Escape to the Country and Countryfile.
Promoting and enabling the potential of places of worship as a sustainable community resource.
Workshops and Seminars are available on the Tuesday too. So it should be a fascinating and exciting day. The cost includes refreshments and lunch.
On Monday 10th October, the focus is on sampling some of Shropshire’s and Herefordshire’s stunning historic buildings. The Shropshire coach will be a guided tour of Moreton Corbet Castle and church and a visit to St Luke’s Church in Hodnet. After that we visit nearby Hodnet Hall gardens with afternoon tea included. It will be a lovely afternoon out.
The Herefordshire coach will be visiting Leintwardine Church, just over the Shropshire border, again with an expert guide. After that it goes to Brampton Bryan church which has a fascinating story. Again afternoon tea is included, this time with the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire!
The cost for each coach is £20. Click here if you would like to book a seat.
This is a very exciting time to be a member of SCTG and it would be really great to see as many of you as possible at this very accessible event.
This is continuing. We have been featuring some of our member churches on our Facebook page since Easter. If you are a Facebook user please like the SCTG page and share our postings. We have featured 18 churches since then and are increasing the numbers of viewers. We will continue until all our churches have been displayed. If you have a special activity coming up, let us know and we can ensure that your church is featured prior to the event. Please support this campaign if you can, it will help all our churches.
Note to administrators Please print page 1 and display it on your notice board. If possible would you mention the conference in your notices.
Visitors 2022 – reflecting on the year so far
Do you think you have had more visitors this year?
Is your building as welcoming as it can be?
Have you had some interesting entries in your visitors book? Have you had any special events after the lockdown break?
Did your church join Ride &Stride this year?
You can advertise your events on the SCTG website by emailing email@example.com. Comments and views of what we are trying to achieve are also welcome.
Apologies, the Conference below has been cancelled.
National Churches Tourism Conference
10th & 11th October 2022,
Shrewsbury Abbey & Shrewsbury United Reformed Church
Put the date in your diary now. As the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) church tourism project comes to a close, we will be reporting back on how it has worked out for member churches, despite Covid! Monday afternoon will see 3 possible guided coach trips to two churches each in Shropshire and Herefordshire or a guided walk around Shrewsbury town centre churches, both good afternoon trips. On Tuesday we will have an update on the project, some excellent speakers, and a wide range of seminars/workshops for you to choose from. More details will follow but we hope as many of you as possible will come and join us for a great day out.
Welcoming people to your church
Many people in our country are still not flying or travelling abroad. They will be staying in this country, either booking a holiday or just looking for some good days out. In Shropshire we have so much to offer the staycation, as it is called. So what can you do? Make sure you have CHURCH OPEN DAILY, on an A-board, or laminated and attached to Dahlia sticks (B&Q and others stock them), advertising on coloured paper that you welcome visitors. Once inside you should have Welcome signs on notice boards near or on the door. Do you have a simple A4 leaflet all about the best things to see in your church (and churchyard): stained glass, memorials, bells, font, tiles, woodwork etc, things you are familiar with but visitors are not? If your church is dark, then point visitors to the light switches - a polite notice asking them to switch off and save the planet will be sufficient. Make sure you have SCTG brochures available as this will encourage some to visit other churches in the area and beyond. If you need more brochures please contact Fiona firstname.lastname@example.org or 01691 829029, and they will be delivered as soon as possible.
SCTG Facebook Campaign
Since Easter, SCTG have been running a campaign on Facebook featuring a different church each week. We have seen a nice rise in those looking at our pages and are now reaching 4000+ people. If you are on Facebook, “Discovershropshirechurches” is the page to look for, then like and share posts with your friends. We would like to see 10,000 people!.
Website https://www.discovershropshirechurches.co.uk/ check latest information and your church page. Add more to it by sending to email@example.com
Counting your visitors
The NHLF project has a few electronic visitor counters, free and available while stocks last for Shropshire churches. First come, first served - they can be posted or delivered. These counters help to provide hard evidence to local authorities and tourist boards that churches attract people interested in history and heritage. They inform you too. They are helpful when recording numbers as evidence if your church is applying for funding.
New members SCTG executive group
We have 2 new members and one returner. Richard Keddie from Shrewsbury Cathedral is already shaking us up: Liz Hill is the Tourism Officer for the NLHF Project and in real life runs a travel company in Herefordshire. The returner is Mo Smith from Jackfield church who, having recovered from a knee replacement, is finally back behind the wheel and attended our latest meeting.
REMINDER: start thinking about who in your church might like to come along to The Conference.
SCTG Newsletter February 2022
New Brochure coming soon
The latest SCTG brochure will be arriving in early March 2022 for distribution at the Annual General Meeting to be held at Meole Brace Church Hall on the morning of Thursday 24th March. Your comments so far are very positive. Your committee will be at work from 9.30, and if you can help us with setting out please come along from that time. Members are invited to pick them up from 10.30 onwards. Coffee/tea will be served at 10.45 and the short AGM will start at 11am. Let us know if you would like to join us for lunch at The Brooklands afterwards.
AGM Meole Brace Church Shrewsbury 24th March
It is really important that someone from your church is at the AGM, and to collect your new brochures. We will start at 11am with a brief report from the SCTG Chair, Anne Pilsbury. Officer elections are next, then discussion and questions from you to us and vice versa.
We are only 5 active members of the executive after the death of Peter Evans and ill health of another member. We need 2 new people and are asking you to think very carefully if you might be that person? It is not arduous, we meet 6 times a year, usually in Shrewsbury, and share cars where possible. Would suit the newly retired or someone with time midweek/ during the day. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors to Your Church this year
While COVID restrictions are being relaxed there are still many people who will be staying at home for their holiday this year – the staycation! SCTG will be publicising our new brochure and featuring a church building each week on our Facebook page. You will find a list of which one and the date on your SCTG website. There are resources on the website HERE which can help you make your building even more welcoming for visitors.
We are still planning to run a coach trip later this year, subsidised by the Tourism Project. September is our aim when we hope COVID will be behind us. We will be visiting some of our churches and it will give you a chance to chat to other members too.
We are planning to do a bit more with Facebook, as when we do post we get a good response. See our other plans under Visitors to Your Church above. If there is something you want us to put on Facebook for you, send the info and we will do the rest.
There are some new resources for you on the website, including a quick check on how ready you are for visitors. There is also a Link on the front page to “Handy Hints for your Church” which gives you simple ideas for helping to make your building easy for visitors.
Your church has a page on the website. Why not visit the site and see what is on it. You can add to it at any time by sending material and pictures to email@example.com
Contacts at your Church
We are keen to have any contact names and emails to ensure information goes to the best and right people in your church. We are happy to have several contacts for your church - it could help more people to visit you. Send details naming church, name of person and email address. They will be kept safe and only used for SCTG contact.
+Stop press+ Our HLF project is planning a Tourism Conference in Shrewsbury on 10th and 11th October 2022. Please keep the date; new exciting news about it will be out soon.
SCTG Summer Newsletter 2021
Good news on membership
With easing of COVID rules on hold until 19th July, it is still true that many churches are slowly re-opening, and SCTG is able to re-open its membership. Lots of member churches paid their new membership in early 2020, before lockdown took over our lives, leaving some outstanding. This was not followed up as you were all wrapped up in the challenges of the pandemic, and church doors were firmly closed to everybody. Your executive have been continuing to work alongside Herefordshire CTG to deliver what we could of the HLF project “Hidden Stories – Open Doors”,
We are now keen to restart membership and are planning to start production of a new brochure in autumn this year. It will be ready for distribution by the March AGM in 2022, so the £60 that was payable in Jan 2020 will cover 3 years (2021/2022/2023) and inclusion in 2022 Guide. The next payment will cover 3 years 2024, 2025 and 2026 with a new brochure in 2025. So we are making it 3 year membership for the same £60 (£20 per year) and the brochure will last an extra year too. We think this will not only make it cheaper for member churches, but will also mean that our very professional, full colour brochure will have a longer shelf life which we think it can easily do. We may have to print a few more but that should not be a problem. You will get a reminder if you have not paid. Do encourage any non-member churches to join up too. Together we are stronger.
Peter Evans RIP
It is with sorrow we have to tell you that Peter Evans died in April after a battle with cancer. He has been part of the executive of SCTG for several years, and was a regular attender at AGMs for many years, before volunteering for a bigger role. He kept attending meetings up to the end via Zoom. We all feel very privileged to have had his expertise, enthusiasm and friendship for those years and we are sure you will join us in extending sympathy to his wife Mary.
Keep the Date and have a day out with us.
We are planning a training day on a coach on 29th September. Plans still being firmed up but it will be part of the project (see below) so subsidised. The cost will be £10 per person including a sandwich lunch. It will be a trip along the Corvedale in South Shropshire, visiting 4 churches, looking at how they approach the welcome for visitors and what we can learn from each other. Coach will pick up in Craven Arms and Ludlow to fit in with train arrivals and there is parking nearby for car drivers. Obviously we are limited by the size of the coach so it will be first come first served. More details later, but if you want to ensure a place please sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.discoverchurches.org.uk Heritage Lottery Project that SCTG is part of has produced a website which is aimed directly at member churches and will keep you up to date with the work arising out of the initiative backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
This pilot scheme is serving as a blueprint for churches, which want to make the most of their potential to attract visitors by developing considered tourism activities to help maintain their church. As well as spelling out the aims and how it will achieve them with your help, all the training courses offered and more can be found under Resources. Find out more by visiting http://www.discoverchurches.org.uk/welcome
ONLINE WORKSHOPS ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO BOOK ONLINE -
Tour Guide’s TEN TOP TIPS - ‘Making visitors feel welcome in your church’, on Thursday 1st July at 7:30pm. As many of you have already re-opened your churches and are starting to think about welcoming back visitors, we thought our next online workshop would be very timely on Thursday 1st July at 7:30pm. Tour guide Penny Platts is an experienced speaker who offers illustrated talks on a wide variety of topics. CLICK HERE to book 'Tour Guide’s TEN TOP TIPS for ‘Making visitors feel welcome in your church'.
‘Funding for Tourism & Heritage Development' workshop, on Monday 5th July at 2:00pm. With churches now starting to open up, this interesting and useful workshop will be facilitated by Wendy Coombey, MBE, Community Partnership and funding Officer for the Diocese of Hereford. CLICK HERE to book 'Funding for Tourism & Heritage Development
Preparing brochure entries and Pictures wanted
Please look back to the Spring Newsletter for advice on re-opening your church to visitors and information about preparing brochure entries. You will also find it HERE on the SCTG website.
Please send lots of pictures of your building, inside and out, any artefacts or monuments or fonts carvings etc. We can add to your website page and use them on Facebook too. Send to email@example.com
We are planning to go big on Facebook leading up to July 19th so would love your pictures and any information you want to share. What has your church done during lockdown, how is the churchyard looking, is there a good wild flower display, have you made any changes etc??? What is the most special thing about your church? Email your view and we can post it online to advertise our churches are open and waiting to welcome visitors. Put up your signs saying CHURCH OPEN as soon as you can. Many people are staying at home this year so be ready for more people. We can promote your church on Facebook even if you are not on Facebook. Just send us the pictures and any sentence about your church and we will do the rest. firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a couple of vacancies on the SCTG executive and really need new blood, which is always good for any organisation as it keeps everything fresh. In normal times we meet about 6 times a year somewhere in Shrewsbury and those who wish, have lunch together before the afternoon meeting. We are friendly and welcoming and it is not arduous work, it is generally delightful! If you think you would like to join us please email email@example.com
NEWSLETTER SPRING 2021
Preparing to re-open your Church to visitors
This year many people will be having a holiday at home or in this country – with brighter warm weather people will want to go out locally. COVID lockdown is set to open up on 21st June, so now is the time to be preparing your church for opening. Check that you have guides available for visitors to learn something about your church and its history.
Leaflets were put away for lockdown, so can you remember where they are? Have your
SCTG brochures ready on display too – we have plenty left if you need more, and pick-
up/delivery can be arranged. Email Fiona: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01691 829029.
Always make sure there are flowers in the church – they lift a building and remind people
that it is still an active place of worship. Have you got somewhere where people can leave
prayer requests? Yellow(or other colour!) post-it stickies are useful, with a simple board to
stick them on. A notice telling people that they will be added to the prayers at the next
available service is a sign you will take them seriously. Another idea is a prayer tree made
from a branch, with luggage labels which can be hung on it. Just make sure it is safely in a
good bucket filled with stones and topped with soil. You can buy a small ‘tree’ in Hobbycraft
if you prefer.
Make sure that the church has been well cleaned and that it is tidy. Check that the notice board is up to date, including information about local attractions, pubs, places to eat,
and toilets available. Signs on the road at the two ends of the village or wherever
suitable will also let people know that you are there and open. If you can leave the church
door wide open it will encourage people to cross the threshold.
Membership and Brochure
Many of you paid your membership before lockdown hit us and lasted far longer than anyone
could imagine. Your Executive at that point decided not to send reminders for subscriptions,
feeling that we all had enough to deal with. BUT, it is now time to opt in if you have not paid
yet. The fee is still £60 and we intend to work on a new brochure at the end of this year for
delivery at next year’s AGM 2022. Can we also ask you to encourage other churches in your
parish groups, if Anglican, or other churches within your particular faith group, and any other
contacts you have, who might be interested in joining SCTG. We would love to welcome
some Methodist Churches particularly. See above to get more brochures.
Brochure Entry Guidelines
Your church entry and photograph will be needed in September so we can set to work asap.
We want to ensure we have enough time to proof read minutely before going to print. The
word count for each entry should be around 50 – 60 words. Pick out one of the best features
of your church then add a little more. You will be asked about parking and toilets too, and if
you are a Caring for God’s Acre Churchyard. Put a marker in your diary for September now.
Now that there is more daylight, this is the time to get out with your camera or phone and
take a few good pictures of your church. Choose a day that is fine but not too sunny, find
some interesting angles and features of interest. Choose a high quality one for the brochure and two or three to refresh your page on our website. Send them to Anne at email@example.com
The good news is that Sustainable Tourism for Sustainable Churches has been carrying on during the past year. and the SCTG Executive has been contributing. Churches that wanted
contactless giving points and visitor counters have been identified and some themed trails are being worked on.. We have had our first request from a Tour Company for a tailored 5 day tour of Medieval Churches in Shropshire. This could include up to 16 churches being visited if the company like what we have to offer. We are working on a series of possible days which could also translate into coach day trips.
We are fortunate to have Liz Hill and Tony Smith as our joint Tourism Officers for the Project as they are very experienced in working with the professional tourism business. If you have any ideas for a Trail for walkers/cyclists/ cars in your area, please let us know and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You do not have to give loads of info; just the basic idea could help us turn it into a trail.
Ride & Stride
You will already be familiar with the Historic Churches fundraiser held on the second
Saturday in September – 11 th Sept 2021. SCTG’s hardworking Treasurer, David Hardham,
has recently taken on the position of R&S County Organiser for the whole of Shropshire; and
we wish him well. As you know SHCT can provide funding for church buildings, but it
depends on fundraising and contributions to make that possible. David explains that it’s not
only about opening churches on 11 th Sept, but also about getting your own sponsorship form, collecting some sponsorship money, and then doing a walk or ride or car ride, hoping for good biscuits or cake at some of the churches you visit (if we can open properly by then!).
You will be hearing from David in the near future but if you want to know more about this
year’s event email him. email@example.com (He asks you to note that his name is
“Hard” as in rock and “Ham” as in bacon … it’s a village place-name … but people often
misspell it, which does confuse gmail).
We are planning to go big on Facebook leading up to June 21 st so would love your
pictures….inside and outside pictures and the unique! We can promote your church on
Facebook even if you are not on Facebook. Just send us the photos and we will do the rest.
We have a couple of vacancies on the SCTG executive. In normal times we meet about 6
times a year somewhere in Shrewsbury and those who wish, have lunch together before the
afternoon meeting. We are friendly and welcoming and it is not arduous work, it is generally
delightful.! If you think you would like to join us please email firstname.lastname@example.org
SCTG Newsletter Autumn 2020
Our Heritage Lottery Fund Project
WORKSHOPS begin on 18th November 2020
10am - until 12 noon delivered by The National Churches Trust.
We are offering this session to non-member churches to encourage them to join us in SCTG in the future. There will be a charge for non-member churches after that.
20th November 10.30 – 12 noon “Creating the perfect welcome”
I hope this whets your appetite. We encourage you to sign up. Making our churches more sustainable through welcoming visitors is what we are aiming for. Sign up here
The Good News in the Circumstances
Closed churches have meant our visitors have not had a chance to share the history, heritage, architecture and stained glass from every century since medieval times, graveyards with stunning views or special graves, and so much more that we have to offer. It has also been difficult to collect in outstanding membership and to work on the brochure which is due next year. We anticipate it will be produced later than we planned (March 2021 was our aim) but one decision we have made is to extend membership for an extra year. This means the £60 will cover 2020, 2021 and 2022 - £20 per year for the same excellent service, which we try to provide as your SCTG executive. If you have not yet paid please do so as soon as possible. If there are churches in your group that are not members , please encourage them to get involved as soon as possible particularly if they want to be in next year’s brochure.
Branding These little icons below are for members to use and we will be showing you, how you can mark out your church as a member of SCTG. This will be ‘advertising’ that you are an open church and that you welcome visitors to come inside. We liked the idea of a stained glass motif with a locater symbol in the middle! The colours will also be used to provide posters, signage and other materials to establish members of Church Tourism groups , currently Shropshire and Herefordshire, as places with something to offer visitors to our counties. Please let us know what you think. email@example.com (Copy and paste into your email)
Tourism Conference 2021
Planning has already started for a Churches Tourism Conference in October 2021 – may seem a long time away! Once we have dates and place we will tell you. We can guarantee some brilliant speakers as we want to show off what we have all achieved through this project. The rest of the country will be invited along!
CONTACT SCTG – firstname.lastname@example.org Please note new email address. Discover Shropshire Churches is on FaceBook too. Send information, pictures, special events to the address at beginning of paragraph if you want something included on your SCTG webpage or our FaceBook page.
CONTACT for Tourism Project email@example.com
SCTG NEWSLETTER JUNE 2020
OPEN CHURCHES from 15th June for private prayer. Information on how this will work can be found HERE
The Good News in the Circumstances
It’s been a funny year so far! Closed churches have meant our visitors have not had a chance to share the history, heritage, architecture and stained glass from every century since medieval times, graveyards with stunning views or special graves, and so much more that we have to offer. It has also been difficult to collect in outstanding membership and to work on the brochure which is due next year. We anticipate it will be produced later than we planned (March 2021 was our aim) but one decision we have made is to
extend membership for an extra year. This means the £60 will cover 2020, 2021 and 2022 - £20 per year for the same excellent service, which we try to provide as your SCTG executive.
Even better news is that churches can open for private prayer from 15th June. Get your CHURCH OPEN NOW or DAILY signs ready. Use A3 paper if your laminator will take it or 3 sheets of A4 landscape style, then pop to the DIY shop. Buy some dahlia stakes and some small brass screws and fix your signs to the top of the stakes. They are ready at the other end to stick into the ground with the help of a mallet/hammer. Put them where passers-by can see them. Make sure you have a notice on the door explaining the ‘COVID rules’. You will find help on the SCTG members’ page.
You could copy 4 ‘Lord’s Prayer’ onto some A4 card and cut into a small pile. You may well get visitors who have never been in a church before and might need that prayer card to help them along. A pile near the visitor book saying ‘Please take one’ will give them permission to take it home with them. (Small and cheap evangelism!) Again find a sheet to print on the website HERE
What else can you do?
With access to the key to your church building, it is a good time to go in and sit down and look around. What can you move? Does that corner need a tidy up? Is there a special area for visitors to pick up a brochure or a leaflet about your church, and a chance to write something in a visitor book – or does it need creating? (do not forget a pen or two for writing names, where from and what they might think of your church.) You can leave a small pile of gift-aid envelopes; also post-it notes inviting people to leave their email so you can contact them with a message at Christmas, Easter and patronal festivals. The post-it note will go into the donations box in the wall for privacy.
CONTACT SCTG – firstname.lastname@example.org Please note new email address
Sustainable Tourism for Sustainable Churches
Our Heritage Lottery Fund Project
Our £200,000 project is being thwarted by COVID 19 but our Officers are trying hard to keep things going. Up to now you have received several pieces of information from them and request for information from YOU! The first introduction email was sent in March, our Tours and Trails email sent in April and our Workshop opportunity email sent in May.
You have received your postcard telling you how to get in touch. Many of you have responded but it is not too late to get involved if you want to encourage more visitors to your church. If you have any ideas Liz and Tony are eager to hear from you email@example.com
Planning has already started for a Churches Tourism Conference in October of 2021 – may seem a long time away! Once we have dates and place we will tell you. We can guarantee some brilliant speakers as we want to show off what we have all achieved through this project. The rest of the country will be invited along!
N ewsletter SCTG New Year 2020
VC2 Sustainable Tourism for SustainabIe Churches
This new project with more than £200,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund is getting underway as ProjectOfficers have been appointed and are already working for you. You will be receiving a postcard from them very soon inviting your church to get involved. The focus is on exploring various methods of support for historic church buildings, by making opportunities for secure financial sustainability and at the same time safeguarding their heritage through visitor growth and learning through action. We will need volunteers for Visitor Counter trials and for Contactless giving trial terminals. There is information on the website HERE
Is your church ready for the new Tourist season?
The visitor season traditionally starts at Easter and Easter day is 12 th April this year. A good clean and ruthless tidy up can improve the look of the building quite quickly and at little cost. Do you have an A4 sheet of paper with basic information of your building? It looks quite nice as an A5 folded leaflet. Do you have a visitor’s book with pens available? You will find more simple ideas on our website HERE
This year’s Annual general Meeting is on 18th March at Jackfield Church at 2pm. You are very welcome to join us. The Agenda will be available nearer to the date. If you need more brochures before then, as you get ready for new visitors (see above!), please contact Fiona at
Join the Executive and help run SCTG
We are keen to have a new member of our executive – could it be you? We meet usually in Shrewsbury about 5/6 times a year. We are friendly and the biscuits are good too and the business not too onerous. It will be a bit livelier as the new project gets going, which you could have a role in influencing. Contact Anne at to volunteer or for further information.
Speaking to Your Deaneries
We are very happy to come and speak to Deanery Synods about Shropshire Churches Tourism Group – why we exist, what membership can mean and helping to make churches as welcoming as we can. We have a short presentation available and 2 of us will come along too. Contact Anne at with possible dates as soon as possible.
Facebook and the SCTG website
Information can be added to our Facebook page and please share anything you want to if you are an active FB user. Our Website can be found HERE. You will find information and news of what is going on that site. You can add pictures and words to your own Church page by contacting Anne at
Coach Trip 20th May 2020 CANCELLED
Following the success of our last day trip, we are offering another one on Wednesday 20th May. Planning is still going on but we hope to visit Much Wenlock, the Ironbridge Gorge and a SCTG member church on the way back. We think Church Stretton will be our place of pick up with parking, bus services and train services. Planned start at 9.30am returning for around 4.30pm – so a good day out. Cost will be £25 (we hope) which includes entrance fees and a light lunch and coffee/tea stops. WE will need at least 20 passengers but can take more. Please share this newsletter with your congregations. You will find a poster HERE
SCTG Newsletter Autumn 2019
Renewal of membership
As an SCTG member for 2018/2019 you should have received a membership renewal for 2020/2021. Membership works on a 2 year cycle with the brochure produced in the second year. The current brochure which features your entry lasts until the end of 2020. If you wish to be in the next brochure, and we hope you will want to be, then you will need to sign up for the 2020/2021 membership.
This spreads the work for your volunteer executive, who deal with membership one year and brochure production the next year. Once membership is sorted, by this time next year we will be asking you for details for the brochure. Do not forget the other benefits of membership! Please pay as quickly as you can, as it saves having to remind you later in 2020. If you have not seen the email from SCTG Chairperson, Anne Pilsbury go to membership for details halfway down the page. We believe we provide a professional service to you all and, as membership increases little by little each time, we think you agree with us.
Virtuous Circles 2
We have also received the affirmation of the National Lottery Reslient Heritage Fund as, working with the Herefordshire Churches Tourism Group (HCTG), we embark on this 2 year project. Read what it is about HERE
The latest news is that the staff who will deliver this project with your help and for your benefit have been appointed. We will be meeting before Christmas to set the criteria for churches to volunteer as part of the trials that will see the introduction of digital support to assess whether it will work across our churches. It will also produce a Church Tourism Handbook, a Church Building Development Handbook and will host a National Church Tourism conference at the end of the project which, if all goes to plan, will roll out a blueprint for Church Tourism nationwide.
Do keep your eyes on this website for more information and we will keep you as up to date as we can. If there are other people in your parish who would like to receive this newsletter, please send their name and email address as well as which parish you and they are part of. You will find the Presentation from the launch HERE
If you send us details of Christmas events we can feature them on Facebook and on the website. Send details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do the rest.
SCTG will be sponsoring a tree at the Christmas Tree Festival at St Chad’s Church Shrewsbury which as a large church full of lots and lots of different trees, so pop in and have a look if you are in the County town. If you are having one of your own let us know and we will advertise it. Try and get this info to us by 29th November.
SCTG is on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/discovershropshirechurches
If you are on Facebook then have a look and like our page. More than half our member churches have a Facebook page. Is yours up to date? It's quite easy to add a post about Christmas activities at your church. A good Facebook page creates a good impression.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund of the National Lottery has awarded a grant of £189,200 to HCTG, our sister organisation in Herefordshire to lead on a project which will see the money spent in our county too. The full amount will be £215,000 and other funding is also in place. We will be working in partnership with the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT),
Hereford Historic Churches Trust (HHCT), National Churches Trust (NCT) and Churches
Visitor and Tourism Association (CVTA). There are 2 distinct parts to the project::
1. The development of accommodation “pods” in an open under-used church at Turnastone in Herefordshire. A national blueprint will be created for future churches to use, in
partnership with CCT. who have experience with “champing” or church camping!. A development officer will be appointed to work on this for 1 day a week for 2 years.
2. A Churches Tourism Development Officer will be appointed for 2/3 days a week to work on helping us to raise the profile and value of church tourism in the two counties. A national blueprint will be created for other tourism groups to use. A training programme will be provided for our church members to increase their expertise and knowledge of where our historic church buildings fit into the tourism offer to visitors. It will also develop the use of new technology as well as a unique ‘bookable’ visitor experience and a serie sof themed trails. We hope this will encourage more visitors to our buildings, which will help secure a resilient long term future. Also included in the project is adding all our Church Tourism Group members to the National Churches Trust ‘Explore Churches’ website, “Explore Churches”, alongside training help covering social media, overseas visitors, professional management, evaluation of outcome, digital counters and contactless giving.
We be looking for volunteer member churches to take part in the 2 year evaluation of the
project. The official launch is in Leominster Priory at 2.00pm TUESDAY, 5 NOVEMBER, 2019 . You will be invited to this launch where you will be able to find out more about what is
planned. ( Leominster has a main line railway station, with regular through trains from Newport and Crewe/Manchester, and is within a short walking distance of both venues.)
I am sure you will all agree that this is a marvellous opportunity for your Tourism group and could make a huge difference to all members if you get involved positively in the project.
Do you count how many visitors visit your church? If you are one of the few churches that is staffed in the busy summer months it is simple enough to get a rough idea how many people come through the door but that is very few of you. Do you have a visitor book, displayed and with pens for people to sign in? If so, count how many people have signed in 2019, multiply by 6 and you will have a rough idea of how many people have visited your building. In the planned project some churches will have more accurate digital counters.!
Are you making the most of your membership? Are you having a concert, a Harvest Festival, a fundraiser? You can advertise your church’s events on your web page. More and more people are using your website, so send words and pictures about your church to email@example.com and we will post them for you. People also contact the website to say nice things about us all:
"Just a line to say how much we appreciate the Guide to Shropshire Churches brochure. We have stayed in Shropshire twice this year and found your booklet was invaluable in helping to visit churches which were both interesting and open. Thank you so much, Fiona and Chris Green"
SCTG Newsletter Easter 2019
Is your Church ready for Visitors?
Easter is traditionally the start of the ‘Tourist year’. The weather is improving and lots of people have time off from work. In no time at all (especially this year) it is May with bank holidays at the beginning and end. But is your church ready and welcoming for visitors walking through the door? We have a check list for you to look at or print out which gives you an idea about what visitors are looking for – you will find it on the website HERE
You will also find another helpful check on the website called ‘Handy Hints for your Church’ which you will find HERE.
There was a good turnout for the AGM and lots of brochures were taken away. We had an excellent speaker in the Rt. Rev.Dr. Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield. A brief summary (he spoke without notes!) of his affirming and encouraging address can be found on the website HERE
We (your executive) believe we have delivered any leftover booklets to member churches, and that those who took them on your behalf have delivered them too. If you do not yet have the new brochure then please contact us for delivery or pick-up. Contact Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of excitement when the new brochures were eventually delivered to Meole Brace Church for the AGM. The front cover shows St Matthew, a feature from the stained glass at St Alkmund's in Whitchurch. The important thing is to get the booklets into other people’s hands. If you have a tourist attraction nearby do ask if they will display our leaflet too. Local B & Bs like having them as well. We have printed 30,000 for the two year period so we still have plenty more. If you are in a group of parishes where other churches are not members please share with them. (They may realise what they are missing!) It is also on the website HERE
Those at the AGM heard about the new Tourism Project which Herefordshire Churches Tourism Group have applied for funding for, working in conjunction with SCTG Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust and the Church Conservation Trust and supported nationally by the National Churches Trust. We are through to the second (and final) round and should hear very soon whether we can start recruiting a part-time officer. You will find a summary of what is planned on the website HERE. It is aimed at using modern technology and ideas to make our buildings more sustainable. Pilot churches will be needed if we are successful.
You have been given several links in this newsletter to the website. Increasing numbers of people visit the web when planning holidays, weekend breaks or day trips. Once you have pressed the links above and are on our website, why not take a look at your Church page? You may decide that you need to put some nice pictures of your church, the stained glass, the font, monuments or something unique to your building. Do not forget the churchyard either, as carpets of daffodils are really attractive as are many other flowers, shrubs and trees; you may also have some interesting gravestones. Tell people something more about your church and invite them to visit. If you have a website or Facebook page let them know that too. And maybe you have an event planned for this summer or bank holiday weekends when people are out and about – we know from our survey that as many as 50% have something planned. Send any information you want adding to: email@example.com and Anne will do it all for you.
SCTG NEWSLETTER NEW YEAR 2019
AGM 7th March 2019 and Brochure collection
The Annual General Meeting of your Church Tourism Group is at Holy Trinity, Meole Brace Church, Shrewsbury, on Thursday 7 th March from 2pm and we plan to finish by 4pm at the latest.
The new Brochure will be printed and ready for collection. We urge all member churches to send someone along to pick up your church brochures. Think laterally, the person picking up may not be the PCC secretary, Treasurer or Vicar but someone who cares about their church just as much: the Ministry of Welcome applies to all our visitors and to all of us welcoming them.
The other good news is that the 99 th Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave, is our guest speaker, his first visit to SCTG.
We have applied for funding to take our churches into the 21 st Century. You will get a chance to hear all about this. Volunteer churches will be needed if our bid is successful.
There is a car park by the church and good facilities. Tea/coffee will be served from 1.30pm. Brochures will be being bundled and labelled during the AGM.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!
We need every church to promote itself in a positive way and hope you can make this your church’s New Year Resolution – it is not too late to make new resolutions. SCTG is here to help you do that but you need to be proactive too. The Visitor Season is deemed to start around Easter so will your church be ready for visitors?
- Welcome Notice very visible
- Check and tidy Notice Boards
- Is your Visitor Book looking shabby? Replace with a loose leaf binder and ask visitors for their email addresses. Make pens available.
- Use emails to remind visitors of their visit to your church at Christmas and Easter
- ï‚· Have you got a prayer area with a means of people leaving a prayer to include in your Sunday service? – see website for ideas on how to do this
- Fresh flowers always make a building look cared for
- Simple A4 folded church guide to pick up?
- Are you using the SCTG website as well as you might – is your page looking good?
If you are on Facebook you will be able to see how we are using this Social Media site to advertise our amazing churches. Search for Shropshire Churches Tourism Group to find us, like us and share on your own timeline too. Every little bit helps. If you have an event you would like us to promote then send to the email link under Website and we will add it to our SCTG Facebook page too.
NB, Sorry, it's not possible to click on these links, you need to copy and paste into the 'to' box in your email.
Visits to our website continue to grow so it is essential that you add information about your church if you want to welcome more visitors. It is simple, all you have to do is send to firstname.lastname@example.org and your information can be added.
We can also advertise your special events – concerts, Snowdrop walks, Daffodil Churches etc.
Send to the email link above and they will be added to the website and advertised on our Facebook page too.
email@example.com for general enquiries
firstname.lastname@example.org for all brochure enquiries
email@example.com for website amendments and additions
www.discovershropshirechurches.co.uk is the website address
PLEASE SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER IN YOUR CHURCH AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE
PRINT OUT FOR YOUR NOTICEBOARD AND FORWARD TO PCC MEMBERS
Newsletter October 2018
Churches’ last chance to share treasures with tourists
Churches in Shropshire are being given a last chance to ensure they are on the county’s tourist trail.
Shropshire Churches Tourism Group is set to produce the latest edition of its acclaimed brochure featuring the best and most welcoming historic churches. Churches have only two weeks left to be included before the 30,000 copies go to press. It is free to visitors.
“The current issue is a 24 page Guide Booklet in full colour. It includes information about more than 90 churches from Whitchurch to Ludlow and Bishop’s Castle to Market Drayton,” says Anne Pilsbury from Oswestry, who chairs the group.
“Each church provides a short paragraph about what makes it special and fascinating to visitors. The booklets are free for visitors and very popular. They fly off the shelves of the Visitor Information Centres in Shropshire and are available in churches and other large tourist attractions locally,” she adds.
It is estimated that church tourism is worth more than £350 million a year to the UK economy and tourism is Shropshire’s second biggest industry. SCTG sees churches as some of the county’s main attractions bringing together history, architecture, music, conservation and spirituality.
“Churches are more than just beautiful buildings and places of worship,” says Anne. “They house the stories of local families and communities. You can find memorials and monuments to men and women who died in battle, the site of the first English parliament and tales of children transported to the New World.”
Work on the brochure which will be ready for the beginning of the 2019 tourism season is almost complete, but SCTG is making a final call to any churches who want a place in its pages and on the group’s website. Churches of all denominations are eligible if they are open and welcoming to visitors. A two year membership costs £60 per church and includes space in the attractive full-colour brochure and online as well as invitations to special events.
Notes to editors: Pictures of member churches in different parts of the county are available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org
Anni Holden Calver
Autumn 2018 Newsletter
BROCHURE ENTRIES WANTED
Now is the time to start composing your entry for the new Shropshire Churches Tourism Group’s shiny new 2019/2020 brochure, which will be ready for the AGM on 7th March 2019. This will be at Meole Brace Church Shrewsbury from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. More on that nearer the time.
NOW we need 50-60 words describing the something special that is your church. We also need a good quality picture of the church and this can be an outside shot, or an item from inside eg stained glass, a unique monument, ancient font, amazing woodwork etc.. This must reach SCTG by 8thOctober 2018 or it cannot be included. There is a tight timetable for design, layout and proof reading before printing in 2019. Please send to email@example.com
FRONT PAGE PHOTOGRAPH WANTED
SCTG will also be looking for a good front page picture. If you have anything you think suitable (there is no correct answer to this – gut feeling generally works!) Have a look at the current brochure HERE . Detail of stained glass does work really well and we are sure there are some great examples we do not know about, so please share yours with us.
RIDE & STRIDE
The Annual Ride + Stride takes place on the second Saturday in September - the 8th in 2018 - between 10.00 am and 6/00 pm. There are about 230 churches open and welcoming riders / striders/ walkers/ drivers. As a member church of SCTG you should be open to these visitors and ready to give them a brochure. The day is organised by Shropshire Historic Churches Trust and is a very successful fundraiser for them, as well as an enjoyable day out for those taking part, visiting
as many churches as they can on that day. Lots of people who take part are not necessarily regular churchgoers and may never have heard of SCTG and have never seen a brochure. If you have not registered your church then please do so as quickly as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and you can be added to the list of churches on the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust website http://www.shropshirehct.org.uk
A reminder that SCTG is on Facebook. If we have enough pictures from you we can feature your church. We also add details of events, and odds and ends of church history, architecture and saints’ calendar. We are already getting several hundred people seeing each of our posts. Please share our posts on your own timeline and spread the message of our superb buildings.
SCTG can help you promote your church via the website. Tourist websites are some of the most visited on the web so we cannot give too much information. We can add more information about your building – there are no word restrictions as in the brochure. You can also send pictures, news of special events or adverts for fundraisers, details of Flower Festivals, concerts, sponsored events and special services. Send your information to email@example.com . Pictures of the event afterwards can also be featured on the SCTG Facebook page,
You will be aware that changes in the law of data protection have taken place. SCTG wish to reassure you that we will not share your data with anyone else.
SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER
Please circulate electronically among PCC members and others on your church email list, and also print out a copy for the church noticeboard.
Newsletter Summer 2018
Membership for the years 2018/2019 is due this year. We are keeping the cost at £60 for the 2 years. This time you will receive an invoice for your treasurer and a membership form to complete with your latest contact details. We need you to complete and return the form to us for 2 reasons:
1. So we have latest contact details for the
person interested in tourism for your church (often NOT the Treasurer), and most importantly
2. So that we can legally keep these contact details. See the Data Protection item below.
The £60 pays for the brochure, to be produced in 2019; we print and distribute 35,000
brochures to churches, Information Centres and other tourist outlets in and around
Shropshire. It also pays for our website. Our Facebook page contributes to advertising your church particularly, and also the wealth and breadth of our historic churches to a very wide audience.
If you have already renewed your membership and replied to the data protection
question then just read and share the rest of this newsletter!
PICTURES OF YOUR CHURCH
You will be asked later this year, for a picture of your church for the brochure. Please
consider internal features, not just the outside; perhaps send some with people included. We can add your pictures to your church website page. Tourists and visitors increasingly use websites to plan holidays and short breaks so we want to show off our churches as much as we can. We will also use them for Facebook postings too. So please send as many pictures as you can to firstname.lastname@example.org
TOURIST SEASON 2018
Is your church ready to welcome visitors this year? Please refresh notice boards and ensure they are up to date. Is there a welcome sign near the door? Is the visitors’ book in a prominent place and equipped with pens for signature? Are there fresh flowers, not dead flowers? Have you organised a quiet corner for prayer, and do you invite visitors to write and leave their prayer requests for inclusion at the next service, with a simple explanation of this for visitors? Have you enough brochures for this year? Contact us if you need more: email@example.com
SPECIAL EVENTS AND ANYTHING FOR VISITORS
Do you do anything special for visitors which you can share with the rest of us? Sharing
good ideas can only make the visit to our churches even better. If you have any special
events (flower festivals, music events, WW1 events, etc) let us know, and we will add them to the website and share on Facebook for you. firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be aware that changes in the law of data protection are taking place. Your positive permission is essential for all organisations who keep your contact details. Obviously we keep details only and exclusively for SCTG communications. We will never share or sell your information under any circumstances. When you renew membership you will be asked to tick a box saying you are satisfied for us to contact you. If you do not tick the box we will have to delete your details and will be unable to contact you at all.
Please print this out and share on your church notice board so more people are aware
of your membership of SCTG. We are always happy to hear from you and what is
happening in your church.
Newsletter, Spring 2018
Membership for the years 2018/2019 is due this year. We are keeping the cost at £60 for the 2 years which works out at 57p per week or £2.50 per month. This time you will receive a membership form which has been revised and an invoice for your treasurer.
The £60 pays for the brochure and we print and distribute more than 30,000 brochures to churches, Visitor Information Centres and other tourist outlets in and around Shropshire. It also pays for a website – see below. We run a Facebook page which contributes to advertising
your church particularly, but also the wealth and breadth of our historic churches to a very wide audience.
We are organising a grand day out starting at Craven Arms and Stokesay Castle,
(actually a medieval Manor House with an entertaining and descriptive story tape to guide you around), lunching in Clun and visiting the old Hospital there (not normally open to the public), and learning more about Bishop’s Castle in the afternoon. We will hear from English Heritage about catering for their visitors and the site also includes Stokesay Church. Cost to members for coach, guided day and lunch will be £25. The date is April 26 th 2018
If you are on Facebook you will be able to see how we are using this Social Media site to advertise our amazing churches. Search for Shropshire Churches Tourism Group to find us, like us and share on your own timeline too. Every little bit helps. If you have an event you
would like us to promote then send to email link above under Website and we can add it to our SCTG Facebook page too.
Visits to our website continue to grow so it is essential that you add information about your church if you want to welcome more visitors. It is simple, all you have to do is send to
email@example.com and your information can be added. It is essential that you have prepared it ready to be added.
We can also advertise your special events – concert, Snowdrop Churches, Daffodil Churches etc. Again send to the email link above and they will be added. NB, you cannot email directly from this page. You need to copy and paste the address, e.g. 'firstname.lastname@example.org' into the 'compose' section of your email provider.
Newsletter Spring 2017.
Annual General Meeting and collection point for new brochure.
THE AGM iHAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL 19TH APRIL. THE VENUE AND TIME WILL BE THE SAME. We meet at St Eata’s Church in Atcham, which is opposite Attingham Park, a National Trust attraction. We will meet at 10.30 am for an 11am start and aim to finish at 1pm. The biggest attraction will be the new brochure, for which you should have returned your details and picture already! A rough idea of who is coming would be helpful for the provision of refreshments. Numbers from each member Church are not restricted. Our 1pm finish could mean a lunch at The Mytton and Mermaid, the hotel next door to the church, or a stroll across the road to Attingham Park if you are an NT member.
Let Anni Holden know if you are coming at email@example.com
Website visitors just keep growing
The Group’s website is attracting more and more potential visitors. Web manager, Anne Pilsbury says that numbers just keep rising. “We know that online information is an essential part of what visitors expect when planning their holidays,” said Anne. “We attracted nearly a quarter of a million people in 2016 which gives you some idea how important it is that we keep pages fresh attractive and up to date. We expect to see that figure grow year on year. Member Churches can send information for their page on the website about their historic buildings, special features and, as importantly, up to date information about what is happening in their churches today.”
Click the link www.discovershropshirechurches.co.uk and have a look at the site and what others have added to their pages.
SCTG Facebook Page
We are working on a new Facebook page and should have news of it ready for the AGM (see above)
Learning Coach Trip
We are working on another day – we are considering dates in June when we hope to have a sunny day – following on from the success of last year when we visited Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Coalbrookdale and Wroxeter, with lunch included and a pick up point where we can park until returning at the end of the day. Roughly 10am until 4pm, it will be a chance to learn from other places and the other people on the coach. We are hoping to keep the price at £25 per head.
Herefordshire Churches Tourism Group Learning Coach Trip 26 th April 2017
Following on from the success of our 2 coaches last year to Berrington Hall and other Herefordshire churches, HCTG is currently working on a trip to several churches in the Golden Valley. Everyone who attended previously gave very positive feedback and we all agreed we had learned a lot from other organisations. It will be a similar set up with ideas you can use at you church or help to give you a bigger idea of what visitors want and expect. We hope to keep the price as before at £25 which includes coach, guided tours and lunch.
Shropshire members are welcome to join this trip too and if you have never been to the Golden Valley I can promise an excellent day out. To book contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Handy Hints for happy visitors
We have a volunteer church to host a half day happening for members. This first one will be in Shrewsbury Unitarian Church, High Street Shrewsbury, a church with an interesting history, and one many of you are unlikely to have been inside. Now is your chance. The event on 10 th May from 10am until 12.30 will be low key, with practical ideas and suggestions that could work in your church. Two people will be welcome from any member church at no cost. Contact email@example.com to sign up. Names of people and churches and contact details are all we require. We would like to hear from other potential host churches in other parts of the County.
Newsletter Autumn 2016
New SCTG Brochure 2017/2018
You will be receiving a separate mailing asking you to fill in the details needed about your church. It will be 50 words drawing attention to the one thing that might attract visitors to your church. It will also be about parking, toilets, opening hours etc. The other thing will be a high resolution picture of your building or one of its features. I1.2 megs)
. We plan to have the brochure ready for collection at the AGM in March 2017.
Advertisements for Brochure
If you know anyone, business or organisation that might like to advertise in the brochure for a reasonable price, please let us know. It will help defray costs and we have already been asked to take a very appropriate one. We print 40,000 brochures
Brochures in your churches
Always make sure you have copies of your brochures in your churches and in local tourist attraction too (eg. local pub or other eating places). If you need more brochures – and you will get visitors at half term and Christmas as well as at other times all year - then contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange delivery/collection. Do not keep them if you are low, the important thing is that visitors get them in their hands.
This just keeps getting better and you do not need to worry what size the pictures are. You can just send them to email@example.com and Anne Pilsbury, our excellent webmaster will add them and any other information you want to your church page on the site. Not limited by word count you can tell everyone lots about your church, history, architecture, monument and graveyard, not forgetting something about the church of today!
Advertise your fundraisers special services and events too.
Handy Hints for happy visitors
We are looking for volunteer churches to host a half day happening for members next year. If we get several around the county we can hold these 2 hour bonus days in travelling distance of lots of people, making them as local to you as possible. These will be low key and low or no cost, practical ideas and suggestions that could work in your church. Host churches would just provide a cup of tea for us all and show off their lovely building too! We anticipate 2-4pm or 10-12am get-togethers, first one sometime early in 2017 or April for brighter weather. We would like to hear from host churches now for planning purposes.
Low cost ideas for visitors
You will find an A4 sheet with the Lord’s Prayer x 4 on the sheet. Download this pdf onto light coloured card or ordinary paper, laminated and cut so visitors can take one away with them. Put them next to the Visitor Book, an essential for all churches. Name/ address/email/comment. How many visitors signed yours in 2016?
Brochures If you need more brochures for this year, 2016 and if new members would like some to advertise new membership and encourage visitors to other churches, then ask and arrangements can be made. The important thing is to get the brochures on display with a small sign indicating they are free and suggesting visitors pick one up and take it with them. The contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t forget to clearly identify where you are in the County.
You may find brochures in your local Visitor Information Centres too.
Brochure 2017/2018 We should have a contact for your church through the membership system but please send name and email of anyone else from your church who can be a point of contact. We often have 2/3/4 names for churches which can be useful. Send details of any other people to me, Anni Holden email@example.com. You will be contacted in September to provide information for the next brochure. The description can be 50 words and it is good to send a high resolution picture for inclusion too. (If you do not know what high resolution means then speak to one of the enthusiastic camera people you know or check it through Google.) You will need to provide address and postcode for your church and some other information about facilities. Watch this space and keep check on website
Website Every member church has an entry on the website and statistics show that tourists are using websites increasingly for their information when planning to visit an area. It is essential that you tell visitors as much as you can in an interesting and colourful way. Information and pictures can be sent to our excellent website editor Anne Pilsbury firstname.lastname@example.org and she will do the magic to ensure your page is looking good. She cannot conjure up information for all the churches herself, or all the pictures of all your church has to offer but will gladly use what you send. You can send as much as you want!
Your Events We have an area for all of your church events which can be advertised as part of your membership, so do use it. Send details of what is happening at your church email@example.com and she will add it to the site.
Resources for Parishes Discussion at the AGM threw up all sorts of ideas that you could use to make your church attractive and informative and to engage with your visitors. We will be developing an area on the website with ideas as they arise. If you have any ideas that work well in your church please contact Anni Holden: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Magazines You may like to remind everyone that your church is a member of SCTG and what that means so below you will find a paragraph for your magazine editor. Reminding others and asking for their help and encouragement means it is not just YOU doing it alone. So copy and paste and add your name. Sometimes ideas come from the most unlikely sources!
SCTG Shropshire Churches Tourism Group. This church is a member of this group and we want our building to be as welcoming as possible, so that visitors feel welcome even if the church is empty. We also aim to give them the best information we can and include more details about any other local tourism attractions. If you have any ideas for how we might do this better please contact our SCTGrepresentative: [Add your churches representative]
Annual General Meeting March 2016 and brochure top up
The SCTG AGM will be held on Wednesday 9th March at Meole Brace Church near Shrewsbury from 10am to finish by 1pm at the latest. It’s a chance to top up your brochure needs and talk about new membership for 2016/2017(see below). We hope to have a speaker too but more of that as soon as we have sorted it!
Membership 2016 and 2017
You will need to have your money ready for the new 2 year membership which will be payable this year 2016! We are holding the cost at £60, which includes entry on the SCTG website www.discovershropshirechurches.co.uk and in the new SCTG Brochure. The next brochure will be produced in the second year of membership 2017. To join or rejoin contact email@example.com
Tourism Day Oct 2016
Following excellent feedback from the 2 Learning Coach Tours we ran in Autumn 2015 (and requests to run some more) we are working on a day conference in October 2016. It would encompass expanding some of what we learned on those trips. We would look at how we identify and tell our stories and how we interpret our church buildings. We could also look at more active marketing of our churches. The day will also include workshops on funding and a guide to grant applications which all of you want and/or need. We have started work on this. Do let us know if there are other things you want to know about.
We really need someone who could be our new Membership Secretary We are extremely sorry that we are losing the services of Lorna Taylor as our very able Membership Secretary.
We are in the excellent position that we currently find ourselves because of the amazing work that Lorna has done. She is staying on the committee and is prepared to help any new person. Could that person be you? It is one of those roles that requires a lot of commitment for 3 months every 2 years so not too demanding when boiled down. You will need to be computer literate and have knowledge of Microsoft Excel.
You will find a brief description of what is required of the job and the person HERE on the SCTG website
The second person we need is a Brochure Production Manager. Lorna Taylor, once again, must be thanked for her previous work on the last 3 brochures. The templates are in place but entries need sorting and expanding and added to before layout and printing by the company we choose to use. The production can be helped and made easier by all members sending their brochure entries in as soon as asked and by the cut off date. (That information to follow once new membership is sorted out). Again you will find out more abourt what is needed HERE on theSCTG Website
We have a new person in charge of the SCTG website. She is Anne Pilsbury, who lives in Whittington near Oswestry. She was at the inspiring day at Leominster Priory and following that, made several changes to the welcome at her church, St Oswald’s in Oswestry. She runs her own church website www.stoswaldsoswestry.org.uk which is also a ChurchEdit, site like the SCTG one, and also runs the Churches Together in Oswestry District website, http://together.ourchurchweb.org.uk/oswestry. She is also building a website from scratch, which is a directory of churches in Shropshire with where to find the best online information about each. Fiona Pearson and Anne have been in charge of the northern sections of the SCTG website for some time. As you can tell from this she is very talented. She would like to incorporate more news from the two dioceses and also from individual churches so over to you Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s all help Anne make the website more appealing to visitors with lots more information about YOUR church. Send her the stuff. She has already added a News section.
Our thanks to Lorna Taylor for all her hard work setting everything up previously.
NEWS for SCTG Members September 2015
9.45 leave Church Stretton Railway station SY6 6PG
10.30 arrive at Museum of Iron, Coalbrookdale - coffee on arrival
10.45 Talk and tour with Paul Gossage who has masterminded the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust's marketing strategy for the last 14 years
12.00 arrive Coalbrookdale Church
1pm lunch at Wroxeter Hotel
2.25 Wroxeter church
3.00 leave Wroxeter Church
3.10 arrive Atcham Church - tea & coffee
4.30 Church Stretton SY6 6PG
St Chad’s Church Shrewsbury Christmas Tree Festival
The BBC Radio Shropshire Carol Service will be held at 2 pm on Sunday 13th December in St Chad’s, on the 2nd day of our Christmas Tree Festival. During the week of the Christmas Tree Festival, some 15 school & college choirs will be participating & singing Christmas music as well as, in some cases, performing dance.
Press Officer SCTG
Director of Communications
The Palace, Hereford HR4 9BL
01432 373342 or 07889 186316
NEWS for SCTG Members June 2015
We have the brochures so now it is imperative that we get them ‘out there’! Do not hoard them; get them in a clearly visible place in your church. Make a Corner for Tourists if you can with local information (cafés, B&Bs, crafts etc) and a leaflet about your church too. Can you identify other SCTG members nearby and get together and produce a small flier that tells people where other churches are. Need help? Please talk to Anni Holden, press and marketing person for SCTG. If you need more brochures or do not yet have any please contact Lorna Taylor
http://www.discovershropshirechurches.co.uk/ This website is for you and your visitors so make sure you have lots of information about your church and its surroundings on your page. The website is increasingly the shop window for what we have to show off and share!
You can also add events to the site when you have something special on which visitors would enjoy. Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you want anything added (Lorna for South, Fiona for North, roughly). Let’s all try and make it as attractive as possible.
Cornwall’s Three Saints
We still have some spaces on our Holiday-Pilgrimage to Cornwall in October. Experience aspects of Cornwall you have not seen before. 3rd-9th October, staying at the Best Western Hotel in Newquay. The basic cost is £599, which includes dinner, bed and breakfast, all your tours and coach pick-ups in Shropshire and Herefordshire (Gloucestershire & Exeter as even when people move away they still want to join the group!) Do not be afraid to come on your own as you will soon make friends.
More information, brochure and booking form are HERE
CVTA Annual Conference and meeting
The Churches Visitor and Tourism Association is the national Church Tourism organisation.
The Annual Meeting of this group will be held this year in SHREWSBURY at St Mary’s Church, the CCT church in the centre of the town. This means as many of you who want to attend can do so easily. It is November 14th and I will send more details as I get them. There is a bus trip and dinner on the Friday too. Save the date!
‘Buddying Up’ Churches
For the Festival of Churches 2013 Jerry Bridgeland pulled together a leaflet all about the churches on Wenlock Edge. It has been very successful. He featured all the churches but emphasised those that were SCTG members. It was a walking trail, bike trail and even a car trail. He got a grant from the Hereford Diocesan Mission Fund for his efforts which covered the printing costs. Trails like this can be very successful and already alluded to under brochures; we want to encourage you to ‘buddy up’ with churches nearby with a view to producing some trail leaflets. If you can identify a small group and then need help with design you can contact Anni Holden for help.
Social Media past and future
I hope those of you who attended either of the 2 half days offered enjoyed them. If there is demand we will organise another session. We are also working towards a Facebook presence and a Twitter account in the future which will spread news of Shropshire’s best churches even further.
Newsletter SCTG March 2015
The majority of the member churches have now got their brochures. If you are still waiting for yours, please contact Heather Jargus to arrange a convenient collection point. Along with the brochures, is a SCTG membership sign to put up at your church. If for any reason, you have brochures but no sign contact Heather or Lorna above.
Can we ask you to think outside the church and remember to deliver some brochures to local places of interest or B&Bs, guest houses/hotels nearby. And do please ask if you need more brochures. The important thing is to get them out there.
As we have been going round delivering brochures, we are reminded of just how beautiful Shropshire is. And what a wonderful collection of welcoming churches we have. Well worth planning to visit some yourself over the next months.
Social Media for you and your church
3 half days have now been booked for a positive introduction to Social Media. You can use Facebook as a way of attracting people to your church or maybe learning how to do things in 140 characters is what fascinates you. If still a little wary, but really think you should get involved, (if only to keep up with your grandchildren!), then these sessions are for you. The dates and times and venues are as follows:
20 April 9 – 12.30 Rockfield Centre Ludlow
23 April 2 - 4.30 Meeting Point House, Telford Town Centre
24 April 9 – 12.30 Rockfield Centre Ludlow
There is no charge but a small donation towards expenses would be helpful on the day. These dates are being offered to SCTG and HCTG member churches first.
Please book stating clearly which date you want and the name of your parish by Thursday 2nd April. Email email@example.com
If you would like us to organize an evening or Saturday session please also contact us with a preference
Calendar of events
There is an area on the SCTG website for events via the Calendar. If your church is holding an event then please send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check before you press send that you have given ALL the details!
Lord’s Prayer Sheet
Attached is an A4 sheet with the Lord’s Prayer X 4 for download. Add your churches name, address and email address/website address to the back, laminate and cut.
This makes a very simple and cheap giveaway for visitors to your church. Download to coloured paper for extra impact. Leave by the Visitor Book.
Every member church should have a Visitor Book to collect names and addresses AND emails of our visitors. This gives you some idea about where your visitors come from and a chance to send Christmas Greetings, date of your Flower Festival etc when appropriate. Collecting a database of emails is very useful for this and again very cheap
Shropshire has launched Waterloo200 campaign to celebrate the county’s links with Lord Hill. There are two churches directly involved as partners. St. Chad’s in Shrewsbury and Hadnall. The Vicars of both attended the launch.
The press release is below, which also invites people to send other links with Waterloo which we may not know about.
Shropshire Council is very supportive of SCTG and have asked us to circulate this information. Join in if you can
It was good turnout for the AGM held this year at St Laurence’s Church in Church Stretton. Bishop Richard Frith certainly made us sit up and listen – a bit of a challenge I think! Thanks to all those who contributed the bakes and cakes. They went down well.