They are a pillar of countless communities, providing a place for Christians to worship and locals to come together.

What's more, in Norfolk and Waveney, these magnificent buildings account for some of the region's most iconic landmarks.  

Thetford & Brandon Times: St Michael's Church in Oulton, near LowestoftSt Michael's Church in Oulton, near Lowestoft (Image: Mick Howes)

So, how would you feel if your local church was no longer in use and had to close for good? Would it matter to you?

These are the types of questions being asked in a new survey produced by the Diocese of Norwich, which looks after the Church of England across the area. 

Across Norfolk and Waveney there are more than 650 Anglican church buildings, 95pc of which are Grade I-listed by Historic England. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: St George's Church in Saham Toney, near WattonSt George's Church in Saham Toney, near Watton (Image: Newsquest)

This means they are considered to be nationally important and therefore have extra legal protection within the planning system.

Many are ancient places of prayer and worship, containing centuries worth of heritage; others serve their communities as local hubs; some are seen as a place of refuge for those feeling isolated.

But all this presents a number of significant, modern-day challenges.

Thetford & Brandon Times: St Augustine's Church in NorwichSt Augustine's Church in Norwich (Image: Newsquest)

Churches have already been lost over the centuries for a host of reasons, including plague, famine and communities simply moving on.

However, the Diocese of Norwich says that, without interest, regular activity or an enthusiastic local community, dozens more may no longer be in use in the near future. 

The diocese has, therefore, launched its short survey - entitled 'The future of Norfolk's churches' - to gauge public opinion, knowledge and attitudes in relation to these hotbeds of history. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: The Parish Church of All Saints in Fring, near HunstantonThe Parish Church of All Saints in Fring, near Hunstanton (Image: Newsquest)

It asks respondents to give their thoughts on the importance of churches, while also providing a space for suggestions on what they would like to see them used for.

Results will be included in a forthcoming report from an independent Church Buildings Commission team, looking at the future sustainability of Anglican church buildings so they can be better utilised. 

The diocese and commission would like to hear from anyone and everyone, particularly non-worshippers and people who do not attend church regularly or at all. 

To complete the online questionnaire, visit