Open Churches Weekends 2012

Ideas for activities & events


Churches may wish to participate in 2012’s Open Weekends either by simply opening the doors and welcoming visitors, or perhaps by offering refreshments and staging activities or events. Past experiences have shown that this can generate more interest and draw in more visitors.

Below is a complete list of events / exhibitions / activities etc that churches put on in 2010 or 2011. You may want to take inspiration from some of these tried and tested ideas...



































Children & family activities
  • Quiz on aspects / features of the church

  • “Teddy bears’ picnic”

  • Cupcake decorating

  • Teddy bears “parachute jumping” from the tower

Focusing on the building & heritage
  • Guided tours of the church

  • Church trail

  • History talks

  • Celebrate your Victorian Restoration! (if applicable) – with Victorian Flower arrangements, exhibition of the plans for the restoration, themed service with Victorian Hymns and extracts from contemporary sermons if any were recorded.

  • “The stones cry out” (suitable only for a medieval church) – Use a colour code to identify each century; have colour coded flower arrangements and notices placed on pillars, doorways etc, and a themed service based on the building. (See example right.)
  • Have flower arrangements focusing on the glass in the church e.g. stained glass, clerestory. Arrangements to pick up features e.g. 3 arrangements in different colours for faith, hope and charity; small mirrors in an arrangement directed upwards to reflect the clerestory. A themed service could have something taking place by every window, e.g. a short address, a song, a dramatic presentation by young people.

  • Identify and explain signs and symbols around the church (e.g. lamb, cross, pelican, dove anchor etc).

  • Exhibition of work by pupils from the local school

  • Historical photograph display (village / church)

  • Display of documents relating to the church’s history - archives – parish records

  • Display the registers

  • Exhibition & sale of work by local artists

  • Exhibitions about charities the church supports / overseas links

  • Vestments display – with information about colours or age (e.g. "the oldest is 16th century...")

  • Displays explaining the Church Year

  • Patronal exhibitions

  • Displays about current restoration projects

  • Exhibition of antique farm implements

  • Display of old Bibles and other books

  • Needlework exhibition

  • Flower festival

Stalls etc
  • Craft stalls

  • Link with annual village festival / school summer fayre / fete

  • Fair trade produce sale

  • Book stall

  • Plant sales

  • Farmers’ market stalls

  • Pottery

  • Picnic

  • Food tastings – local produce

  • BBQ

  • Cream teas

  • Tea party

  • Organ music

  • Evening concerts

  • Brass bands

  • Community singalong

  • Links with local cricket club gala

  • Garden party / open gardens

  • Local history walks

  • Village allotments open nearby

  • Links with village gymkhana

  • Links with village tractor run

  • Village heritage trails

  • Bell ringing demonstrations

  • Open the tower (we can offer health and safety guidance if you want to do this)

  • Events marking the anniversary of other significant things in the church’s history

  • Table tennis / snooker outside if the weather is good and space permits

  • Competitions: Art, photography, or even cupcake decorating!

  • Looped video presentations

  • Local history society involvement

  • Opportunities for visitors to bring in old photographs of the area and scan them to build up a digital archive

  • “Treasure hunt”

  • “Party in the park”