Parish Church may be forced to close

PUBLISHED: 07:17 17 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:47 31 May 2010

St Peter’s Parish Church in Duxford facing a budget deficit - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

St Peter's Parish Church in Duxford facing a budget deficit - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

ST PETER S Parish Church in Duxford is facing up to a £6000 budget deficit this year, which could see the church fall out of regular use in 2007. A drop in the size of the congregation has meant that fund-raising events are no longer being organised and t

ST PETER'S Parish Church in Duxford is facing up to a £6000 budget deficit this year, which could see the church fall out of regular use in 2007.

A drop in the size of the congregation has meant that fund-raising events are no longer being organised and the rector, Rev Andrew Schofield is worried the church will no longer be viable next year.

He said: "In years past, the diocese has been able to support churches facing financial problems from its investment funds.

"Sadly that is no longer the case and the question now is whether St Peter's can survive as a viable church at all - we just don't know how long we can run at a loss.

"To allow a deficit budget in 2006 would have long term consequences, not only for Duxford's status as having a used and vibrant church in the area, but in its confidence in meeting the challenges of the future.

"The church paid its way last year thanks to a legacy. If the church can't make up the shortfall of £6000 this year, what hope is there for 2007?"

Jenny Marks, Parochial Church Council secretary said: "If the £6000 shortfall cannot be paid to the Diocese of Ely, then pastoral support would be cut. This would certainly mean a reduction in the number of services held at St Peter's and the worst case scenario is that it would have to close permanently."

Since 2000, St Peter's congregation has lost 20 people through death or from people leaving the area, and as there hasn't been a corresponding influx of new people, the church's income has fallen.

The church, which dates from the 12th century, no longer has the manpower to organise significant fund-raising events, like the annual fetes in Ickleton and Hinxton, which provide an opportunity for those communities to support their church and make a contribution to running costs.

Rev Schofield said the church was doing all it could to make the church more appealing to people from all corners of society in order to boost the congregation.

He said: "The church is making huge efforts to make itself more user friendly and to engage more effectively with the community, including establishing a wider variety of services, both modern and traditional.

"A new monthly afternoon family service, closer contact with Duxford Primary School and a more flexible and family friendly baptism policy will hopefully have an effect in the longer term, but the immediate problem is to raise sufficient funds to stave off the budget deficit."

The Parochial Church Council is planning a number of events over the coming months, and Jenny Marks would love to hear from people who have ideas and would be happy to help out.

She said: "Historically, the two ancient churches - St Peter's and St John's Churches - have been at the heart of the community in Duxford.

"St John's is no longer in regular use, and St Peter's, with its commanding position in the village, and tower of beautiful bells, should not go the same way."

To find out how you can help raise funds, contact Jenny on 01223 837337.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter