Why closing rural churches and centralising congregations could be worth the heartache - Yorkshire Post letters

From: Barry Ewbank, Driffield.

Do you agree with this reader's views on rural churches?

In MANY rural churches the congregations have reduced over the past 20 or 30 years and consequently trying to keep the doors open is becoming harder and harder.

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The cost of keeping these buildings open on a day-to-day basis is quite expensive and the money has to be raised by the congregation. The churches are not financed from a central point, as is often thought by many of the public.

Many of these churches have a vicar in charge of a group of three, four, five or six, and in some cases even more.

Wouldn’t it be better just to keep one church of the group open and the congregations centralise? I can understand this will cause heartache in many places having to decide which churches stay and which close. We appear to be in a situation where there is also a shortage of vicars, especially those that would like to be in the countryside. It can often take up to a year to replace a vicar and this puts pressure on the congregations having to organise services for themselves during that time.

Are we now coming to a point in the life of the church when something radical has to be done to keep it up and running?

How do we come to a decision as to which churches stay open and which ones close?