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St Olaf's Church

A little church with a heart as large as the surrounding Lake District landscape

St Olaf’s is England’s smallest parish church and one of its most remote. Nestled between some of the Lake District’s finest fells, it can only be reached by footpath and bridleway. Over the centuries, the church’s simple beauty and stunning setting have touched the hearts of thousands of worshippers, visitors and pilgrims. Whether people come to remember fellow climbers (the church’s graveyard is home to the British Fell and Rock Climbing Club’s memorial) or to connect with 500 years of history, the experience is one of abiding stillness, cradled within the peaks and pikes of the North Lakes landscape.

A thriving centre of faith in the fells

St Olaf’s spiritual presence and spectacular backdrop make it the perfect place to nurture faith and friendship in the region. Its small but thriving congregation welcomes almost 30,000 visitors a year, from all over the world and the modest surplus it makes from donations is divided equally between three local charities and the church’s own stewardship fund.

Whilst St Olaf’s may be a very small and simple grade II listed church, the ravages of time, weather and heavy footfall have still managed to take their toll on the building’s fabric. Over a century has passed since its last major renovation and trustees are now seeking to raise around £150,000 to carry out urgent repairs and restoration work.

“To some, this may not seem like a challenging fundraising goal,” says Amy Stevens. “But for a rural community without immediate access to major givers or grant funders, it can be a daunting target to aim for. We were so taken with St Olaf’s story and the commitment of its trustees that we were delighted when they engaged us to offer some focused fundraising support.”

If your church is facing its next fundraising challenge and you’d like to know more about our small churches package of support, get in touch via our website.