West Bromwich church set to close after congregation slumps to single figures

A West Bromwich church is set to close down after its congregation dwindled to single figures.

The Good Shepherd and St John in West Bromwich has been lined up for closure
The Good Shepherd and St John in West Bromwich has been lined up for closure

The Good Shepherd with St John, at the junction of Bromford Lane and Lyttleton Street, looks set to be the latest church to fall foul of plummeting attendance numbers.

Its imminent closure after hosting services for more than 50 years has been announced by Church of England commissioners, and comes following a review led by the Diocese of Lichfield.

It comes as analysis of CofE data suggests more than 400 churches closed down in the decade to 2019, amid claims of a crisis facing parishes.

A statement from the commissioners says the reasons for the closure have been outlined by the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield.

It said the decline of the church was "effectively terminal", due to issues including the large number of buildings within a small geographical area and a drop in congregation numbers.

It also notes the "loss of any individuals able to secure the governance of a parish church", and the church's "lack of impact" with the community.

The statement continues: "One other parish church can almost be seen from the site, and a second is within easy reach.

"Linked with the reduction in clergy establishment within the deanery, closure was tabled with no resistance from community groups and little from within the remaining congregation (which now seldom reaches double figures)."

It concludes: "This scheme, if implemented, would have the effect of closing The Good Shepherd with St John, West Bromwich, for public worship and vesting it in the Lichfield Diocesan Board of Finance for care and maintenance pending a decision on its future."

Any representations regarding the scheme should be submitted to katie.lowe@churchofengland.org by September 5.

The commissioners will decide on the case for closure later this year.

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