Ufford Vesting

St Andrew’s Church, Ufford, came under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust on 3rd October. (See more information on p12).
Parishioners from our Benefice, together with officials from the Trust and Gordon Steele, Archdeacon of Oakham gathered the following day when there was an atmosphere mixed with sadness and celebration.  Sad because had the church building been used for regular worship and supported by the people of Ufford, this would not have been necessary.  Good because the handing over, or ‘vesting’ means that the future of the building is now secure.

It is estimated that around £500,000 will need to be spent on repairs to the church as it stands.

Those attending the ceremony were welcomed by Peter Aiers. Director for the South East area of the CCT.  The key was handed over to his care by Canon Gordon Steele , Archdeacon of Oakham, who spoke briefly, reminding those present that in the Church’s Calendar it was St Francis’ Day and Francis had a vision about building a church, which, he  finally realised, was not about stones but about people.  He reminded us that this had been a local decision and that “the numbers of people willing to share in the life of the church and its upkeep” were not viable.  By passing the church building to the CCT it would mean it would remain open and worship could continue on occasion.  “Nothing would please us more than this church grow and flourish,” he said and that the “caring hands” of the Trust would keep that option open.   In agreement, Peter said:

“Churches are about people and there’s nothing like a Parish Church.  This democratic building tells the story of this place and its history must not be lost.”  He went on to explain that the Trust was formed in 1969 when it was envisaged that there would be thousands of redundant churches.  Happily this was not to be and Ufford is only the 346th to be taken into care. The principle of the organisation is to conserve church buildings using high quality repairs and to get the doors open so that people will have regular access and the church can be used.