I first learned about Christian Heritage through my church (Cambridge Presbyterian Church). As my congregation is one of the supporters and has been involved with various events that the Christian Heritage has organised over the years, I gradually got to learn a little more about them. In 1994 the congregation at the Round Church became too big to be accommodated and as a result moved to Church of St Andrew the Great (STAG). Christian Heritage have managed The Church of the Holy Sepulchre aka the Round Church since 2001 and keep it open for visitors. It is one of only 4 round churches left in England. During my time at Hills Rd College I started coming to the Round Church a lot more as I had made friends there, which led to volunteering as a doorkeeper for them as they especially needed people over the holiday periods.
When volunteering as a doorkeeper, my role was to sit at the front desk (literally door-keeping!) and welcome visitors into the church, giving them information about the building as well as the exhibition and film. This means not only learning the history of the church building but having an awareness of the Christian history of the city. The past two years volunteering there have helped me work on building confidence talking to strangers every day and getting asked the most obscure of questions! It was also quiet enough during my exam period for me to volunteer there while revising. One of my more memorable days working there was at Christmas time, where I helped make the church look festive by decorating the tree as well as climbing a precarious ladder up to the gallery in order to drape fairy lights.
For anyone thinking of volunteering, no matter where, the most important thing is to not worry too much. People are excited and happy to have someone who is willing to give up their time to work for free, and they will always be around to help out and make sure you feel confident in your role. In the Round Church especially, everyone is friendly. You are constantly learning – every time someone asks you something you don’t know, you find out the answer together and then you know it for next time.
Christian Heritage is committed to making the message of Christianity accessible to everyone, no matter what age. We host concerts, recitals, talks, plays and arrange summer schools and lectures in the Round Church . The talks that are organised by us are great for anyone wanting to learn a little more or who are interested in exploring Christianity. I’ve had friends from my college turn up and love them. I see this as really important considering that most events and talks in Cambridge cater towards the university students, even though young people studying for their GCSEs or A levels are just as keen to learn.
My favourite aspect of Cambridge is that it’s a place full of culture and history, and one of the most enjoyable things to do is look around the museums, all of which are free. And, as one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge, the Round Church is a great place to start. You’ll meet all kinds of interesting people while working on the door, and for me personally, it has made me want to one day work in Arts and Heritage.
More information can be found on Christian Heritage at; http://www.christianheritage.org.uk/