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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Churches likely to close due to costs

TWO local churches are likely to close due to financial pressures.

By Margaret Crosby

Anglicans within the Crosslacon benefice are saddened to hear they may lose two of their four churches – the isolated St Michael’s Church at Arlecdon and St John’s Church at Cleator Moor.

While they are under severe threat of closure, no timescale has yet been agreed.

The problems at Arlecdon are chiefly financial, where poor heating, dry rot and electrics all need attention and there isn’t enough money in the parish coffers to continue to deal with these issues and meet outgoings.

With a tiny congregation of less than a dozen, those who attend may soon have to worship elsewhere. The picturesque rural church of St Michael’s, which is Grade II listed, has been closed during the winter months because of the cold. Services are due to start up again as the warmer weather approaches, but just how long it can keep going is unclear.

At St John’s Church, however, the congregation is growing with a number of new young families joining and a youth church flourishing, but the building itself is failing, and needs a new roof.

Recent repair work to the tower uncovered more extensive problems with the roof over the main church, where flashings have failed and there are rotting timbers, even though the roof was replaced about 20 years ago.

Crosslacon clergy comprise the husband and wife team of the Rev Peter Turnbull, vicar and the Rev Jacqueline Curtis, rector, who were appointed in 2008.

Archdeacon of West Cumbria, the Ven Richard Pratt, said: “I am really saddened that Peter and Jackie and the congregations in the team have got to face these very difficult problems.

“They are really good people and have really worked hard. It is an unenviable situation, but we must remember the Church is not a building it is a congregation.”

At the moment, St John’s roof is not unsafe so services and activities will continue, but in the longer term there may be a search for an alternative venue.

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