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Quickly Gain Permission to Install Screens in a Listed Church!

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Quickly Gain Permission to Install Screens in a Listed Church!

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Preserving the architectural integrity of a listed church while incorporating modern technology poses a unique set of challenges. If you're considering installing screens in your historical church, obtaining the necessary permissions is crucial. In this article, we'll explore the process of seeking permission and weigh the options of a central projection screen versus installing smaller screens along each side.

Understanding Listed Buildings

Listed buildings are structures of historical significance, and any alterations or additions must adhere to strict regulations to preserve their character. In the context of installing screens, this involves navigating the delicate balance between the needs of the congregation and the preservation of architectural heritage.

What do you have to do to apply for a faculty?

If you are looking to apply for a faculty, then you will need to complete an amount of formal paperwork and submit plans, specifications and photographs to explain the works proposed.

You will usually need to consult your church architect for advice and have a resolution from the PCC in place.

How do we apply for a faculty?

Go to https://facultyonline.churchofengland.org/home this is the home page of the Church of England online faculty system.

The first thing to do is create your own online account and link it to your church building. There is an extensive help section with guides on how to create the necessary documentation to support your application.

The most important of these is the User Manual for the system for parishes.

There are also some useful video resources from Lincoln and Carlisle dioceses, search for ‘church faculty system’ on YouTube.

Considerations for Screen Placement:

  • A central Screen either lowering down from the chancel arch or swinging out from one side:
    • Pros:
      • Creates a centralised focal point for congregation engagement.
      • Preserves the architectural symmetry of the church.
      • Less visible when not in use.
      • One large image is better for collective viewing of longer content such as a film and may also be central in the sound stage depending on the sound system.
    • Cons:
      • Reduces visibility into the chancel and high altar which may be contentious.
      • Visibility may vary for congregants sitting in different sections of the church (blind spots).
      • May involve additional structural considerations and costs due to working at height.
      • More maintenance requirements than flat screen displays.
  • Installing Smaller Screens Alongside the Aisle:
    • Pros:
      • Potentially requires more extensive permissions as it may be considered a greater intrusion.
      • Allows for flexibility in placement and may cater to different viewing angles and blind spots.
      • May be more cost-effective compared to a central screen attached to the arch.
      • Could allow for different content on each or pairs of screens.
      • Brighter images than projection.
    • Cons:
      • Could disrupt the visual symmetry of the church, depending on placement.
      • Additional costs due to more extensive cabling and power supply requirements, plus more distribution equipment required.
      • Screens are always in plain sight when in use or not.
      • Can suffer from reflections from windows.

Balancing Tradition and Technology:

The decision between a central screen and multiple smaller screens along the sides involves a careful balance between technological advancements and preserving the historical aesthetics of a listed church building. Engaging in thoughtful discussions with heritage experts, seeking community input, and presenting a well-documented consent application will contribute to a more informed decision-making process.


In conclusion, obtaining permission to install screens in a listed church is a meticulous process that requires collaboration with the diocese, possibly heritage organisations, and the church community. The choice between a single central screen and smaller screens along the sides depends on various factors, including the impact on the architecture, visibility for the congregation, and the level of permissions required. By navigating this process with respect for both tradition and technology, you can integrate modern amenities seamlessly into your historic church while preserving its unique character.

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