Church Buildings Officer

This job has now expired
London Bridge
Permanent
£31,000 - £33,500

This is a valuable role with the potential to make a real difference in giving guidance and support to the congregations and communities who make use of and care for our church buildings in the Diocese of Southwark. This includes helping parishes to access sources of grant-funding and obtain permissions to carry out building works, as well as promoting ‘best practice’ for repairs/maintenance and development of buildings. The role includes the handling of casework for the Diocesan Advisory Committee, and supporting our work towards becoming an Eco-Diocese, through advice on environmental sustainablity of our church buildings.

This new post of Church Buildings Officer has been developed out of a previous partnership between Historic England and the Diocese of Southwark, which together initiated the post of Historic Churches Support Officer which came to an end earlier this year. The new post, wholly funded by the Diocese of Southwark, has been shaped to respond to the feedback received and the needs of the Diocesan Advisory Committee.

  • Processing casework of the DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches), overseen by the DAC Secretary.
  • Promoting the use and development of church buildings to resource and further the Church’s mission, within the context of “Southwark Vision”
  • Advising parishes on fundraising for their church buildings
  • Offering help and support to parishes in developing strategic approaches to repairs and maintance of their churches.
  • Encouraging and advising parishes on making changes to their church buildings and how they are used, to reduce energy use and carbon emissions, within the context of Southwark Diocese becoming an Eco Diocese.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  1. DAC casework

The post holder will also be an Assistant Secretary to the DAC, enabling him/her to be involved in processing a portion of the Committee’s casework.

To provide a positive and friendly response to enquirers by email, telephone and post and to do everything possible to create a good relationship between the Committee and those who consult it.

To arrange for specialist advisers to make visits, or report on submissions, as necessary. To attend site visits as appropriate and prepare site visit reports.

To handle DAC casework (Committee; sub-committees; Archdeacons’ List B permissions), circulating papers, drafting letters for sending to the parishes, communicating with the parishes the outcomes, issuing Notifications of Advice, and working with parishes to respond to feedback.

  1. Church buildings as resources for mission

To work collaboratively with parishes, diocesan colleagues and others to integrate thinking about church buildings with mission and ministry planning, to unlock the potential of church buildings for mission and community outreach. This will involve site visits, meetings with clergy, churchwardens and other parish representatives, and Parochial Church Councils (PCCs); being part of devising and delivering training events; writing articles, guidance notes and website content etc.

  1. Fundraising

Promoting and facilitating access to sources of funding, and encouraging congregations to think imaginatively about income generation to maintain and develop their buildings.This will include proof-reading applications and helping to build fundraising strategies, as well as identifying suitable funding sources for individual projects and churches. Working with the Archdeacons and Diocesan Secretary on allocating grants from Marshall’s Charity to churches for their building projects.

  1. Repair and maintenance

Being responsible for sending out Quinquennial Inspection report reminders to parishes and for filing reports when completed, which offer an overview of the condition of church buildings and recommended works.Maintaining the database of currently appointed Quinquennial Inspectors, and taking the lead on the DAC’s giving of advice to PCCs about the appointment of Inspectors.

The Church Buildings Officer will offer guidance and training in preventative maintenance and tools such as Asset Management Plans.For the past two years the Diocese has also hosted “Faith in Maintenance” study days in conjunction with SPAB.

A significant proportion (54%) of churches in the Diocese are listed (31 Grade 1; 60 Grade 2*; 100 Grade 2) which presents a particular set of opportunities and challenges.The post-holder will need to be aware of these opportunities and challenges. They will support parishes and engage with external partners in valuing these significant buildings and be able to advise on strategies for their care.

  1. Caring for God’s creation

In July 2019, the Southwark Diocesan Synod voted unanimously to work towards becoming an Eco Diocese. For more information on the A Rocha Eco Church scheme, visit ecochurch.arocha.org.uk

The DAC Chair is a member of the Diocesan Environmental Group. The DAC regularly offers advice in relation to interventions intended to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

The Church Buildings Officer will offer ongoing advice and support to parishes in relation to sustainable management and adaptation of their church buildings and churchyards, to encourage them in seeking to respond to the Fifth Mark of Mission – ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.

The successful candidate will combine their background knowledge and experience with a proactive and pragmatic approach to casework and advice, and will have enthusiasm for church buildings and the potential they offer in contributing to “Southwark Vision”, whilst understanding the challenges that people looking after and using these buildings may face.

It will be essential to have:

  • A relevant degree, equivalent qualifications or relevant experience
  • An understanding of what is required for long term and ongoing maintenance of historic buildings/churches
  • The ability to devise a plan for addressing the repair / maintenance priorities identified by condition surveys
  • An understanding of and interest in issues facing building owners/volunteers and others in relation to Climate Change and other threats/challenges to historic buildings
  • Experience of preparing reports and assessments
  • Demonstrable ability in problem solving, decision-making, project management, and attention to detail
  • Experience of handling casework / administrative procedures
  • Knowledge of historic buildings legislation (Listed Building Consents, Conservation Areas) and the planning process generally
  • Experience of interpreting technical drawings/plans
  • Excellent interpersonal, negotiating and written communication skills
  • Ability to work within and influence an organisation
  • Understanding of developing community / complementary uses for historic buildings
  • Awareness of sources of grant-funding for churches / historic buildings
  • Ability to present/deliver training at training events
  • Good IT skills and familiarity with Microsoft Office

The Diocese of Southwark, founded in 1905, forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England and is part of the wider Church of England, in turn part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Diocese covers primarily the area of Greater London which is South of the Thames, together with the Eastern part of the county of Surrey. It is one of the largest dioceses in terms of population and parishes as well as one of the most diverse.

As a Diocese, we celebrate churches, worshipping communities and fresh expressions of Church, across the full spectrum of traditions, that speak well of each other and support each other as together we seek to deliver a our key objectives. This diversity and range of contexts within our Diocese means there needs to be more than one approach to missional growth – and this role will be a key feature of our journey towards delivering this growth.

In 2017, we launched the Southwark Vision - that we seek to be a Diocese:

  • Walking with Jesus and getting to know Jesus better as we journey on
  • Welcoming all, embracing our diversity and seeking new ways of being church
  • Growing in numbers, generosity, faith and discipleship as we grow God's Kingdom

Our vision is founded on mutual commitment from all who make up the Diocesan family to walk together in the pilgrimage of faith, supporting, encouraging and resourcing each other in our common task.

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