Letter: People cannot expect churches to live on prayer alone

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Sir: 'A carve-up in the cathedral' (15 August) touches a serious and painful subject for churches and cathedrals.

People want these fine historic buildings open throughout the year at convenient times; they are part of the heritage. They want them appropriately clean and tidy, suitably lit and warm, with someone helpful to answer their questions. The churches want to remain accessible, but we pay real money for gas and electricity and pay real wages to real people. Who is supposed to be paying for this if not those who use its facilities? There are no government subsidies, each parish church has to be self-financing.

While visitors may pay pounds getting to a cathedral, they will typically offer less than 20p for the visit, unless they are charged an entrance fee. They feel affronted by requests for money and the apparent move to commercialism.

Visits have been subsidised by the generous donations of previous generations, and that money is now running out. If church buildings are to remain accessible, then the churches would like some


Yours sincerely,


Chief Executive

St Martin-in-the-Fields

London, WC2

17 August