Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two NI churches in a race for top UK award churches have been short-listed for the Best Modern Churches architecture competition being run in the United Kingdom.

The competition is organised by the UK National Churches Trust, The Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the 20th Century Society. 

From a shortlist of 24, judges will announce on November 7 a Top 10 best modern churches and award a National Churches Trust Diamond Jubilee Architecture prize to the three places of worship judged to be the best sacred spaces built in the last 60 years.

The ceremony will take place at Lambeth Palace in England, with the awards presented by Archbishop of Canterbury the Rev Justin Welby.

Two Northern Ireland churches are in the 24 selected – St Molua’s Church of Ireland on the Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast and Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, Steelstown, Londonderry. 

More than 200 churches were nominated for the competition by members of the public, churches and heritage organisations. included church buildings or significant extensions to an existing building of any Christian denomination in the UK which opened for worship after January 1953.

Church of England, Church of Ireland, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Scottish Presbyterian and United Reformed churches made the top 24. 

Claire Walker, chief executive of the National Churches Trust, said: “As a nation we are rightly proud of our magnificent heritage of historic churches. 

“But there are also many exciting churches which have been built in the last 60 years designed for the changing nature of religious liturgy and practice which reflect modern architecture and design. 

“The challenge of helping people catch a glimpse of heaven has always produced highly creative and imaginative architecture. 

“This competition will help discover some of the best examples of modern church architecture and allow us to honour those responsible,” she said. 

Cathedrals were excluded from the competition as the National Churches Trust does not fund cathedral buildings.

The National Churches Trust is the leading national independent charity concerned with the protection and welfare of churches, chapels and meeting houses throughout the UK.

Its aims are: to provide grants for the repair, maintenance and modernisation of church buildings; act as a catalyst to improve and bring more resources to the management of church buildings and promote the value of church buildings to the community at large.

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