Survey: 1 in 9 Historic U.K. Churches at Risk

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In the United Kingdom, hundreds of historic churches are at risk, according to a new study.

A survey by the conservation group English Heritage says that 1 out of 9 historic places of worship are in disrepair. That figure equates to at least 1,600 historically important churches needing to be preserved.

The sample survey also revealed that 11 percent of England's 14,500 listed houses of worship were potentially at risk. A building that is listed on the survey is considered to historically important and is protected by law.

It's estimated that congregations need to raise $1.4 billion over the next five years to save their churches. Researchers say that's a difficult task in today's tough economy.

"The current climate of increased unemployment, low interest rates and reduced returns on invested capital make fundraising a greater challenge than ever," English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley said. "Some congregations are finding the responsibility harder to bear."

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