An Arlecdon church will remain open but parishioners have been warned to use it or lose it.

Archdeacon of West Cumberland Dr Richard Pratt led a public meeting on Sunday to discuss what is required for St Michael's Church to survive.

Over 50 people attended the two-hour discussion which outlined the need for an increased congregation and five church officers.

For now the church will stay open but Dr Pratt said "we will have to keep an eye on it all the time."

"Some people felt I was negative but I was setting out the reality of the situation. I used the image of a dog is for life not just for Christmas, we have to be clear it can keep going," said the archdeacon.

"There was some helpful people which is very good, they want to make a difference. A friends of the church group are looking for people to join them and we need at least five church officers - two wardens, a treasurer, a secretary and someone else."

He added: "We also need a PCC of eight and about 30 people at church on a Sunday morning. The church won't shut if people are in the church on a Sunday."

The picturesque grade two listed rural church has experienced financial difficulties for some years and has struggled due to low attendances. It has been unused during the winter months due to the lack of proper heating.

However the potential closure received a number of objections, with 20 representations submitted to the Church Commissioners - based in London.

Dr Pratt said: "I'm also going to get an architect onsite and we'll prioritise urgent things we need to tackle."

Anyone interested in helping out at the church or joining the PCC can attend a meeting on Tuesday, November 15 at 7.30pm. For more information and to find out where the meeting will take place call 01946 861307.