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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Church of England to shut three churches in west Cumbria

Three churches in west Cumbria are to close following months of uncertainty.

A decision has finally been taken to end worship at Cleator Moor St John’s. St Michael’s at Arlecdon and Workington’s Holy Trinity Church.

Church leaders said there was no alternative but to close. The reasons for closure at all three are mainly financial.

Repair work at Arlecdon would be too costly, at Cleator Moor the building is failing and needs extensive repairs to the roof and at Northside in Workington, the church needs a new heating system costing between £20,000 and £30,000.

The Rev Ian Grainger, vicar of Seaton, Camerton and West Seaton, said he hoped to continue some form of worship on the Northside estate at the community centre.

He added: “I didn’t really want to be in this position but we have to look to the future.”

Mr Grainger said it would be several months before the building is shut.

The Archdeacon of West Cumbria, the Venerable Richard Pratt, is working with all three churches to complete the closures. He said it was a “long and complicated process”.

“If parishioners are having their parish church taken away from them it is a very painful situation,” he added.

“There has to be a lot of consultation carried out and if an appeal is lodged then it has to go to the Pastoral Committee of the Church Commissioners in London.”

Congregations – of fewer than a dozen at St Michael’s, but a growing one at St John’s – will eventually have to worship elsewhere but no timescale has been set.

St John’s worshippers are looking to use Crossfield Community Centre.

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