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Centuries old church may be forced to close as congregation dwindles
6:00am Thursday 13th February 2014 in News
St Keverne Methodist Church looks just weeks from closing for good unless congregation numbers vastly improve.
A final meeting will be held in April to decide on the fate of the church, but the informal stance at the moment is that the church should close.
It currently has just 13 regular congregation members and the general agreement is that it is time to disband the church.
It will mean an end to the centuries of Methodist worship in the village, while the current church building has been there since 1907 – replacing the former building that burnt to the ground.
Church council secretary Arthur Jackson said: “It is very sad that it has come to this. We would really like other people to join us and share in all the activities of the Methodist church.
“It has really been informal meetings thus far, but the feeling of the majority is that given the number of people who worship, and their age, it’s not really possible to carry on as a worship community.”
He stressed that no formal decision had yet been made, but the majority of members felt it was “probably time, sadly, to cease to meet.”
He added that finances were not the issue, saying: “We’re not out of money, we’re out of people.”
The loss of the church is likely to also mean the loss of the well used community hall next door, which is currently the base of the parish council, the WI and, until recently, the village Brownie pack.
Various other community events also take place there.
The church currently also holds monthly services at St Keverne’s residential home Polventon House and other activities in the village.
The meeting in April will be between the church council, church members and Rev Steve Swann, the superintendent for the Lizard and Mounts Bay circuit of 22 churches - of which St Keverne is one.
Should the official decision be to end the church society, it will be up to the Methodist circuit, rather than at village level, to decide on what will happen to the buildings.
Concerns over the future of the chapel were raised at last week’s meeting of St Keverne Parish Council, when member Russell Peters described it as “an important part of the parish.”
Fellow councillor Derek Kevern said he hoped people would fight for it in the same way the community of Edgcumbe did when their chapel was under threat, leading to the building remaining open.