Gornal church closes doors after 180 years of service due to £500k repair costs

A Black Country church has finally closed its doors after more than 180 years of public worship.

The church was left needing around £500,000 worth of repairs in 2018
The church was left needing around £500,000 worth of repairs in 2018

St Peters Church in Upper Gornal was closed for the final time on Wednesday, January 18 after a four year process by the Diocese of Worcester and the local community to close the church, which opened to public worship in 1841.

The church on Kent Street had been facing closure since 2018 after it was found that it needed close to £500,000 in repairs to make it fit for use, a sum the congregation was unable to afford.

The Diocese of Worcester began the process to close the church to public worship, a process which has now finished with the closure of the church building and the movement of all services to the church hall next door.

The congregation of St Peter's have already been using the church hall as a place of worship in the Winter months as the church building is too cold for use and regular services will be held in the hall on Wednesday mornings and the second, third and fourth Saturday of the month.

The church building has now closed after more than 180 years of services, with all future services taking place in the hall

There will be a service of thanksgiving for the church building on Sunday, January 29 at 10am, with the community being invited to take part in the service and share memories of the building.

A spokesman for St Peters Church said: "After a long process, over four years, the church building of St Peter's was closed today (18th Jan 2023) for public worship, and the building is now vested in the Worcester Diocese DBF.

"This is a sad day both for the local community, and the worshipping community.

"Regular worship will continue in the hall, next to the church building on Wednesday mornings at 10:00am and Sundays, on 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays of the month at 10am.

"There will be a service of thanksgiving for the church building on Sunday, January 29 at 10am, in the hall.

"All are welcome to share memories of the church building."

Rev. Catherine Mitchell, Acting Rector of Gornal and Sedgley said: “Closing a church is always sad, but we continue to worship together in the church hall, where we’ve been based for the last five years.

"This Sunday will be an opportunity to both give thanks and say goodbye to the original church building as we look to the future, continuing to love and serve our local community.”

A spokeswoman from the Diocese of Worcester said: “This is the end of a long consultation during which time we held a number of public meetings to ensure local people were aware and were able to input into the process.

"No decisions have yet been made on the future of the site; now that the building has been formally closed, the Diocese of Worcester and Church Commissioners of the Church of England will start looking at the options available.”

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