After serving Brampton for more than 350 years, the United Reformed Church has finally closed its doors to the congregation.

The decision to close was made three months ago by the congregation elders as they faced falling numbers.

In its place there is a mission community that serves all denominations in the town.

Reverend Nick Mark, who served the church for seven years, said: “The Anglican church, Methodist church, the Salvation Army, and the United Reformed Church have basically joined together to work on mission.

“There are going to be 35 mission communities covering the whole county.

“We felt it was better to work towards that than just try to survive with a very small number of people.”

The origins of the church in Brampton stretch back 357 years as it formed in response to the differences in opinion over who should be head of the church.

“It offered an alternative to the Anglican Church,” Reverend Mark said.

However, things have changed and relations between the churches are more friendly.

“The animosity has gone completely, in a way the purpose of us offering a different variety has disappeared.

“Therefore people have a good choice still in Brampton because you have the Anglican church, the Methodist church, and the Bethesda church.”

The main church building will be sold but the hall will be kept as it is used to host youth services.

These services reach generations that aren’t reached by the traditional services of the church.

Reverend Mark believes that congregations can shrink when they don’t focus on young people.

He said: “It reflects to a greater extent society, there are so many other things to do on a Sunday.

“You look at young people now and schools encourage them to do sports and things over the weekend - to be blunt we don’t offer something that is attractive.

“The solution is the development that we have in our church hall, the ecumenical project we’re offering things for youth and that isn’t based on a Sunday.

“That’s a much better bet and it is reaching the generations that we’re not reaching.”