Future bleak for Isle village church, warns clergyman

Rev Ken Sargeantson.

Rev Ken Sargeantson.

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A VILLAGE is set to lose its church if it is not given more support by its congregation, a clergyman has warned.

Rev Ken Sargeantson has written an open letter to parishioners warning that Eastoft St Bartholomew’s Church is “struggling to keep its head above water”.

Mr Sargeantson, who is officially retired, said he has been holding weekly church services as well as weddings, funerals and christenings since the last full time vicar moved on three years ago.

But he says more people need to support the church or it will be lost.

He added: “The picture is a very sorry one I hate to have to say, church attendance has been declining for quite some time in this village.

“Many people just don’t seem to understand that each parish church in each community is kept there solely by the giving and the fundraising by its own community.

“Every penny that each individual parish church spends has been raised by that small group of committed people with a desire to keep the Christian presence alive in their village, and we get no help whatsoever from Government or any other source, but as things are looking in Eastoft at this moment in time, the future prospects for a continuation of weekly worship and the other occasional things such as weddings, christenings, and funerals doesn’t look very good.

“The current situation is that Eastoft St Bartholomew’s Church is struggling to keep its head above water.”

Mr Sargeantson said villagers or other people wanting to help were the answer in keeping the church open.

He added: “At this moment we are in the position whereby the Parochial Church Council consists of two churchwardens and one other person.

“Not that many years back this PCC had around ten or 12 members and unless the village can show by attendance and involvement, that it does value its own parish church, then future prospects for its ongoing life are really bleak.

“However, the choice remains with all of you, the people of Eastoft, and I would welcome any constructive suggestions, or criticisms of the way you would have us approach the future”.

The Diocese of Sheffield was unavailable for comment.