Kelbrook’s Parochial Church Council held an extraordinary meeting on Monday night to discuss the future of St Mary’s in the village.
The Archdeacon of Craven, the Ven. Paul Slater, attended the meeting when a range of items were up for discussion around the long-term future of the church.
These included the worst case scenario of closing the church altogether.
However Mr Slater said that for this to happen, extensive public consultation would need take place before a final ruling by the national Church of England Commissioners.
PCC members were against that idea and also strongly rejected a host of others such as the church becoming a Chapel of Ease without regular services, selling it off for commercial or residential use or it becoming a “romantic ruin” with a closed graveyard.
Matters have been brought to a head for at St Mary’s as the sole church warden and PCC secretary have had to step down after years of unstinting service.
Both roles will become vacant after the PCC’s annual meeting on Monday, April 15th, and while there is positivity the church can survive in the short and medium term, with a “small pond” of 12 to 15 in the congregation, the long term is concerning the church’s future.
The Rev. Hugh Fielden, Vicar for Kelbrook and Earby, said: “St Mary’s can’t go on as it is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go on.
“What we need are people to come and use this wonderful church building for worship and help take responsibility within this deeply caring community.
“St Mary’s is at the heart of this community. We support the Toddle into Church group and have good links with Kelbrook Primary School and Brook Farm Nursery and the village hall.
“The church community gives generously to charities including a local food bank and sponsor two children in developing countries as well as caring for people at baptisms, marriages and funerals.
“This emergency meeting is to let people know what is needed to keep their church open and to invite them to get involved.”
Ideas for the future to make the church more accessible for people include building a toilet, getting better heating, to have a regular crèche and Sunday club.
Members of the PCC decided an emergency meeting for the parish, which will be held on Monday, April 8th, at 7-30pm at St Mary’s, will give people a chance to share their ideas and give practical support as well as to ask about options for the future.
n Easter Carols will take place at the church on Sunday, March 31st at 6pm to raise funds. The choir will sing and Kathleen Bannister will conduct. Call Julie Davies for more information on 844975.