‘PLEASE don’t close our church’ was the plea ringing around a public meeting held to discuss the potential closure of an 800-year-old church.
People packed into Tatenhill Village Hall, in Main Street, after learning that St Michael and All Angels Church could close its doors later this year after it emerged it was no longer ‘financially viable’.
Villagers said they unanimously opposed the church’s closure, with one asking if a ‘Friends of Tatenhill Church’ group could be set up to try to keep it open.
Alan Rowley, of the parochial church council, revealed that the meeting saw an outpouring of strong feeling for the place of worship.
He told the Mail: “More than 40 people attended the meeting to discuss the problems confronting the parish church.
“There was a wide-ranging discussion regarding many issues, culminating in the consensus of opinion that those attending did not want to see the church closed.
“A representative from English Heritage said that the church is a Grade-II ‘starred’ listed building generally in good repair, being in the top two per cent of buildings of national importance, and that they would almost certainly oppose the closure.
“Some villagers have even asked if ‘The Friends of Tatenhill Church’ can be restarted so that people can help with providing funds for the running costs to keep it open.
“The parochial church council thanks everyone for their attendance and interest, and all of the views expressed will be taken into account when they meet to discuss the options. However, despite the positive possibilities, St Michael and All Angels Church remains at risk that services will cease in the near future.
“To put it bluntly, we don’t generate enough money to keep the church open. The church has been around for more than 800 years and now faces just being left empty as it only has a congregation averaging 15 on alternative Sundays.”