Many churches share buildings with other churches. Buildings can be:
- shared on an informal basis
- subject to a Sharing Agreement under the Sharing of Church Buildings Act (1969)
- and/or can be a Shared Building Local Ecumenical Partnership.
Whichever option is relevant for you, we recommend that you read the short resource Sharers, Guests or Tenants: The Sharing of Church Buildings in the Multi-Cultural City. This offers useful advice and good practice for churches looking to share buildings together.
Headings in the resource include:
- The Sharing of Church Buildings In the Multi-Cultural City
- The Inner City today
- Underlying theological issues
- Different understandings of the local church
- Different attitudes to mission
- Different attitudes to worship
- Accepting one another within the body
- The need for a wider strategy
- Principles of Good Practice: living “unity in diversity”
- the agreement between the congregations.
- the relationship between the leaders
- the relationship between the congregations.
- the details of any sharing agreement
Sharing Church buildings on an informal basis
Circumstances may dictate that a building is shared without a formal agreement, for example, if it is a temporary arrangement or if one of the denominations concerned is not covered by the Sharing of Church Buildings Act (1969). Alternatively, congregations may be anxious about entering into a formal agreement.
As mentioned above, we recommend that you read the short resource Sharers, Guests or Tenants: The Sharing of Church Buildings In the Multi-Cultural City. This offers useful advice and good practice for churches looking to share buildings together.
Sharing Agreements under the Sharing Church Buildings Act (1969)
Buildings can be subject to a Sharing Agreement under the Sharing of Church Buildings Act (1969).
A Shared Building Local Ecumenical Partnership
A Shared Building LEP exists when two or more congregations permanently share a building but do not become a single congregation, continuing to worship separately, particularly where Eucharistic celebrations are concerned.
This is always the case when the Roman Catholic Church is a partner but there are reasons for other congregations wishing to retain a separate worshipping life. (They could have similar ecclesiological reasons, eg if it is an Anglo-Catholic Anglican congregation, or the congregations may just not be ready to combine.) It is possible for LEPs to ‘overlap’ and a partner in a shared building LEP could well be single congregation LEP.