Church Recording

Churches have always been a reminder of continuity and a source of beauty. Often the earliest buildings in an area, they are treasure troves of historical documents and significant memorials, as well as the more practical items of daily use.

Treasures to be found in stained glass

Church Recording is an activity in which a variety of skills are required, where interest and satisfaction are virtually guaranteed, and where there is a wealth of knowledge to be discovered. If you know of an historically important church in your neighbourhood, consider an ADFAS Church Recording project

When a project is set up, very practical and clear guidelines about the process are provided in The Church Recorders’ Handbook and trained advisors are always ready to help and advise. Recorders usually work in pairs to record the description, dimensions, history, inscriptions and age of every single internal item. Stained glass windows, carved pulpits, silver chalices, beautifully embroidered vestments, and old bibles are only some of the objects to be examined, measured and described, and photographed.

Volunteer church recorders at work

Once the objects are recorded, the information is collated and entered onto computer and checked for accuracy. Then after printing and binding, copies of the record are produced for the church, for ADFAS and for the National Library of Australia.

These days, it is not uncommon to find deconsecrated places of worship from all denominations transformed into luxury homes and apartments, or, in the country, falling into disrepair along the highways. It becomes more and more urgent to document the stories, records and history contained inside a church. Even if you cannot save the building, you can ensure the preservation of the information and meanings which lie within its walls. So many details of community life are reflected in the contents of churches, be they cathedrals or private chapels, in towns and cities, or on country properties. ADFAS Church Recording aims to ensure that there is a permanent record of these historic buildings which will be available for future generations to research, understand, and appreciate.

Church paintings by Godfrey Rivers

For information about volunteering on ADFAS Church Recording projects email