CAPTION: Marian Carson and her team have been working with churches and local communities across Devon

New national role for head of £1.8m Devon rural churches project

Posted: 10th May, 2019

The head of the Growing the Rural Church project in Devon is to take up a new national role as Director of Operations with the Churches Conservation Trust.

Marian Carson has worked for the Diocese of Exeter for the past two-and-a half years as project manager for Growing the Rural Church.

The £1.8m seven year pilot project is funded by the Church of England and aims to work with 100 churches across Devon. It teams-up with rural congregations to help them make the most of their church buildings in ways which benefit the whole community. These include commercial and cultural uses as well as ensuring they are viable places of worship.

Marian said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Devon’s rural communities over the last two years, supporting congregations and community members to work together to ensure sustainable futures for their churches.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to bring this experience to the Churches Conservation Trust and join the team as we take forward the new strategy to partner with communities in caring for their historic places of worship.”

Peter Aiers, CEO of the Churches Conservation Trust, said: “We are delighted that Marian Carson will be joining us to help deliver our new strategy to empower and support communities to care for their historic places of worship.

“Marian brings with her the experience of working with rural historic churches in the Diocese of Exeter and the challenges there are a microcosm of what we see right across the country.

“The traditional system of caring for historic churches faces decline in rural areas and it is essential that there is a sound infrastructure to help communities care for historic churches when there are no longer regular congregations.

“Historic churches are the most important of cultural assets as they tell a story of place like no other building, they have a profound link to where they are and represent everyone. It is vital that these buildings are used and loved so we can pass them onto the next generation, Marian will help us achieve this.”

Graham Davies, Director of Property, at the Diocese of Exeter said: “Whilst we will greatly miss Marian and the skills she brings, this really is an amazing opportunity and achievement.

“Marian has built a very strong team around her and the Growing the Rural Church Project is certainly very well placed to continue to make positive impacts around our diocese.

“Marian will take up her new role, which will see her working with churches across England, in the autumn. The Diocese of Exeter will be recruiting her successor over the summer.”