Two Doncaster churches to shut, but three are spared from closure in major re-organisation

St George & The English Martyrs Church, Skellow Road, Carcroft. Picture: Google
St George & The English Martyrs Church, Skellow Road, Carcroft. Picture: Google

Two Doncaster chapels are set to close under plans to re-organise places of worship across the borough.

But the three more churches which had been under threat will remain open under the final plans set out by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hallam.

Members of the congregation of Our Lady of Sorrows at Armthorpe were worried the church could close, but is is now safe

Members of the congregation of Our Lady of Sorrows at Armthorpe were worried the church could close, but is is now safe

Under the final plans ammounced by the BIshop of Hallam, the Rt Rev Ralph Heskett, the Chapels of Ease at Carcroft and Finningley will close, meaning those who attend those sites will have to go to their ‘mother churches’, which currently provide the priests who carry out the services there.

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Original proposals, in June, had also outlined the possible closure of  the churches at Armthorpe, Askern and Balby.

In a letter to parishes, the Rt Rev Heskett said there had been much constructive feedback from the original plans and his personal reflections on the feedback and comments received had led him to the final plan.

It will see several merged parishes, with the final joint parishes being: 

• Woodlands, Bentley and Askern

• Moorends and Stainforth

• Balby and Edlington

• Denaby and Mexborough

• Mount Carmel and Kirk Sandall

• St Peter’s and Armthorpe

• Cantley and Rossington

Mr Heskett said: “ The...restructuring of the deanery will mean, sadly, that the Chapels of Ease of Carcroft and Finningley will close and therefore return to their respective mother churches.

“At a suitable time, I hope that we will be able to come together and give thanks to God for the life of these two communities over the years.

“Askern will remain open. However, there needs to be some further exploration to consider the future of this area and to how best serve the needs of the Catholic community in this part of the deanery.

“Although the plan is for the parishes of Cantley and Rossington to be twinned, in the immediate future, a priest will remain in each of these parishes to allow time for the parishes to prepare for this change.

“I am well aware that recent months have been difficult for many and that the above plan comes at a cost. Some of you will feel that you are being asked more than your fair share of the cost. There remain challenges ahead for all parishes including the revision of Mass times across the deanery.”

Rob Weston, who has been actively involved with the Catholic church in Armthorpe, and took part in a diocese synod in 2001 about re-organising the church parishes, said he was pleased that three of the churches initially earmarked for closure, including Armthorpe, which he had campaigned to keep open, would remain.

He said: “I’m happy that they have seen the light and kept Armthorpe and the others open, and I’m extremely grateful that they have listened.

“My mum had been worried where she was going to be able to go for mass. She is overjoyed that Armthorpe will not close.

“But I am sad that two churches are going to close. I know they are chapels of ease, not main churches, but they are still someone’s local church.”

“I know its hard, but I think we should be getting more people to go to mass rather than closing churches.”