They’re with us, quite literally, from the cradle to the grave, but all too often our churches remain a forgotten part of everyday life.

Now, thanks to the National Church Awards – otherwise known as the church BAFTAs – congregations an communities are being given an opportunity to vote for the church they believe is worthy of special recognition.

This could be because of the voluntary work they carry out in the community, because of what they give to the tourism of a particular area or because of the church’s incredible architectural value.

The awards are open to all churches throughout the UK, but with South and West Wales boasting such a wealth of stunning churches in idyllic rural settings, the churches of Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion are certainly in with a good chance.

“Churches are the beating hearts of our communities,” commented Claire Walker who is chief executive of the National Churches Trust.

“They contribute £55 billion of economic and social good each year and bring communities together to help them to thrive.

"We're excited to host an awards ceremony that showcases their importance, as well as the many other wonderful ways they contribute to society.

“This is a great opportunity for people across the UK to join with us in celebrating the local churches and their buildings.”

But while the churches have some amazing stories to tell, they also need help. With the future of many churches uncertain and under threat, there has never been a more important time to celebrate their importance to communities.

Churches can easily nominate themselves for an award by going to:

Nominations will close on July 23, 2023, with judging subsequently taking place by church and heritage experts.

The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, November 6, at the fabulous Mercer’s Hall in London.

Some of last year’s winners included St Deiniol & St Marcella in Marchwiel, Wrexham, which took home an award for the maintenance work that has been carried out to the building; St Saeran in Llanynys, Denbighshire, for its role in tourism and The Outpost at St Paul's, Rhosesmor in Flintshire for volunteering.

All are shining examples of churches being open and welcoming and making a significant difference in their local communities.