Sunday, May 26, 2013

The trouble with Medieval churches......


Last year more people came to the churches in Wadworth and Loversall than since our current records began in the 1970s. In fact the last 3 years have shown a steady increase in attendance since we reviewed and changed the time and place of services in 2009.  If we compare the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 with the 3 years before the changes (2006, 2007 and 2008) then we see an increase of 29.7%. This is great news but also causes a challenge. For example over 3200 people attended Loversall church last year and this does stretch the available facilities.

The water supply only comes as far as the edge of the churchyard and is turned off in winter. So we have to bring water to the church from the vicarage in Wadworth to flush the toilet and make refreshments. We always have to go to the tap in the corner of the churchyard to get water for refreshments at any time of the year.

The heating system is old and inefficient and this winter needed to be on for 3 whole days to fully warm the church. Some weeks, for no apparent reason it did not work. The heating system has recently been assessed as part of the annual servicing and because of the problems we had this winter, also by church authorities. Both concluded that we can continue with the current inefficient system for as long as it will work but that we will not be able to have a new heating system as modern systems require a water supply rather than the manually filled tank that we have at present.

For some reason the floor has become very damp during the winter.

There has been no regular church warden at the church for most of the last 10 years. 

The roadway down to church is not owned by church and is not very well maintained. This winter it had many craters and was very muddy.

At the recent church AGM, concern was expressed as to the effect the above issues would have on the growth in numbers attending church. Indeed, attendance numbers have declined sharply in the first quarter at Loversall while at Wadworth they continue to increase. 

Although there is no toilet in the church grounds at Wadworth there is a water supply, kitchen area to make refreshments and a reliable heating system. Plans are very advanced to have a toilet in church. In the mean time we can use the toilet in the Village Hall or the vicarage, neither of which are much further from church than the toilet is from the church at Loversall.

In light of all this information, at a recent Church Council meeting, we decided that in order to maintain the momentum of the last 3 years, the Sunday afternoon services at Loversall would be moved to Wadworth. We will introduce a midweek Holy Communion service at Loversall to maintain regular worship and continue to conduct funerals and weddings. 

These changes will take place from Sunday 16th June.