Rural church wins two national awards

09 November 2023

Providence Methodist Chapel at Throwleigh, in the Plymouth & Exeter Methodist District, has won two awards from the National Churches Trust in the “Open To Visitors” category for England and for the UK. The National Church Awards, known as "the BAFTAs for churches" make this a major achievement for a rural church that was struggling a few years ago.

Revd Chris Jackson, superintendent for the West Devon Methodist Circuit says, “Providence is an incredible success story of how small rural chapels can have such a big impact in a local community, this award is for all the people of the church and the many who continue to support us as we move forward together with, and for, God.” 

Providence Chapel was once at risk of closure due to dwindling attendance. However, the congregation was determined to revive the chapel and restore its place in the community. Despite an uphill challenge, the congregation developed a successful model to achieve their goal.

They decided to exhibit Chris Chapman's photographs in the chapel and secured funding through a National Lottery grant and advertisements. The exhibition was a massive success, attracting thousands of visitors and bringing the chapel back to life. The congregation has since expanded its outreach by welcoming pilgrims, hosting events, and engaging with the community. Thanks to their efforts, the chapel is now financially stable and thriving.

The congregation's success provides a model for other rural churches to follow, showing that with creative thinking and determined action, any community can overcome challenges and achieve its goals. Winning not one but two awards from the National Churches Trust is an amazing achievement rewarding their hard work and dedication for their chapel to thrive.

Read more about their journey here