Linda Patrick looks ahead to the second staging of an event celebrating some of the churches in our diocese...

Following on from the success of the inaugural event held last year, the Horncastle and Villages Churches Festival will this year see 50 churches and chapels open their doors over the weekend of 8th and 9th September.

With free entry offered to all, each building hides a story simply waiting to be discovered and offers a memorable encounter with heritage and atmosphere. Set against the backdrop of the Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on one side and the tranquil water of the River Witham on the other, what an ideal place to spend a late summer’s weekend retreat.

This event brings together many rural communities, with churches offering activities such as homemade bakes and lunches, bell ringing, crafts, book sales and exhibitions covering subjects such as local history and children’s artwork. In addition, this year many of our churches will be commemorating two significant dates. This part of Lincolnshire is rich in aviation heritage and the festival will feature exhibitions celebrating 100 years since the formation of the RAF, with some villages also commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

More than 100 volunteers will open up their churches and offer a warm welcome to visitors across the weekend, which coincides with the popular Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days event, meaning that there will be even more places to visit and explore. There is also another exciting reason to celebrate at these groups of churches. Thanks to the generous donations of lottery players, the National Churches Trust were able to receive National Lottery funding to deliver the Great Interpretations project. Focusing on the churches in the Horncastle area, the project aims to help people across Lincolnshire get to know their churches, record priceless treasures and promote their heritage to audiences far and wide.

The Horncastle and Villages Churches Festival has been part funded through the Lincolnshire Wolds Small Grant Scheme and The Diocese of Lincoln Transformation Fund.

Full details of what each church will be offering during the festival can be found here

Brochures and flyers will be placed in libraries, Tourist Information Centres and participating churches, and these can also be requested via email or by calling the office at St Mary’s Church in Horncastle on 01507 52 56 00.