More and more churches and synagogues are being used for non-religious purposes or even being pulled down, according to a group dedicated to conserving religious buildings.
The Future for Religious Heritage Association (FRH), which was founded in Cambridge in 2010 and is based in Brussels, delivered the warning at its third annual meeting in Halle, Germany.
Reports had confirmed that in the Netherlands changes of use and demolitions were happening on an “avalanche-like scale” but this was also increasingly evident in Belgium, the association warned. In France, the Government, which is obliged to keep up churches and chapels built before 1905, was finding it increasingly difficult to do so. In Germany, modern Catholic churches were said to be especially under threat as were village churches in former East Germany.
However, the FRH reported that local private sponsorship associations and volunteer projects to maintain churches were mushrooming in both Germany and France. Their members included people who were not religious but keen on keeping up religious buildings and traditions.