If this is your first visit to these pages - you may be a newly appointed churchwarden, or you may have been nominated by your PCC to submit faculty petitions on their behalf - then please read this page and the pages About the DAC and Online Faculty System before downloading any forms or guidance notes. You will find completion of the forms much easier if you understand the legal framework within which we all have to work.

Our churches, both ancient and modern, are a valuable possession and a great responsibility. The long history of local worship and community life as evident in the architecture requires the best care possible, in order to preserve this unique heritage for future generations.The repair and maintenance of our churches is an on-going task and no work should be done nor should any item be placed in a church which is not thoroughly good in itself and suitable to its situation. This applies not only to the structure, but equally to ornaments, monuments, furniture, lettering, lighting and heating, and also to work in churchyards. Even the simplest things should not be ordered without skilled advice. In the past much money has been thrown away on furniture and schemes which have defaced the buildings; good designs usually cost no more than bad.

Just as prevention is always better than cure, maintenance is preferable to major repairs. However, repairs may not always be avoidable. The building may develop structural problems, materials eventually wear out, older repairs may contribute to decay, there may be fungal or insect infestations, or the building needs a redecoration.

Whatever the repair needs of your church, it is important to establish the cause of the damage in order to avoid repeated decay and loss of original fabric. Therefore, the first step should always be to consult your architect about any suspected or perceived damage as he can best determine the cause and extent of the damage and advise you on suitable repair methods.

With limited exceptions, any changes by way of alteration, addition, improvement or repair to the fabric, fittings or furnishings of your church require either the authority of the Bishop given through the Chancellor of the Consistory Court of the Diocese by Faculty, or the written approval of your Archdeacon under the provisions of List B (this is all explained on the page Online Faculty System). This also applies to churchyards, although memorials which fall within the authority delegated by the Chancellor through the Churchyard Memorial Rules may be authorised by the minister.

This may seem like a challenge, but we are here to help. Keith Halliday is the Church Buildings Adviser and can offer help and guidance in caring for your church building, its contents and the churchyard. Catherine Copp is the DAC Secretary and she can help with the faculty process itself. If the information in these pages does not provide the answer to your question, Keith can be contacted on 01904 699523 or at keith.halliday@yorkdiocese.org and Catherine can be contacted on 01904 699522 or at catherine.copp@yorkdiocese.org.

The Diocesan Registry also has advice on many legal issues relating to the care of church buildings and churchyards. Another useful resource is The Church of England Website. Below, you can download "Ours is a Living Church", the text of an excellent talk that Phil Thomas, Church Buildings Officer gave in October 2010, on caring for our churches.

[Page updated March 2020]