Village church to close as congregation dwindles
PUBLISHED: 09:02 06 April 2011
A 19th Century village church will close its doors to parishioners this week in response to dwindling attendance numbers.
The congregation of St Peter’s Church in Prickwillow heard the churches first sermon in 1868 but a steady drop in the number of worshippers over the last decade finally forced church elders to act and the announcement was made that the building would be closed for good.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Ely, told the Ely Standard: “The Parochial Church Council decided that St Peter’s should close to public worship because of its falling congregation and the diocese is required to act on that.
“The process is somewhat lengthy because there is a need for consultation with the people of the parish and with the Church Commissioners but ultimately a sustainable use will be found for the building.”
The spokesperson said that there were dozens of things the building could be used for including a residential home or an art gallery. One disused church in Bedfordshire was recently taken on by a local council and turned into a small wildlife habitat.
The parishioners of St Peter’s Church will now merge with St Mary’s Church in nearby Ely but will continue to be part of the Reverend Alan Hulme’s flock.
According to the diocese, St Peter’s has one bell, dated 1691, that was a gift from Ely Cathedral from whence also came a font of Italian marble, dated 1693.
The ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1878 from Holy Trinity and St. Mary Ely, Littleport, Lakenheath, and Mildenhall (Suffolk). The register of marriages dates from 1864, of baptisms from 1874.
Anyone who wishes to make representations about the closure may contact James Davidson-Brett at the Church Commissioners in writing at: Church House, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3AZ or via email at email@example.com.