Landmark Wolverhampton church moves one step closer to closure
A landmark church in Wolverhampton has moved one step closer to closing its doors.
The congregation at Darlington Street Methodist Church, which has stood at the corner of Darlington Street and School Street for 118 years, have begun the process of seeking permission to close.
If approval is given by the Methodist District Synod in September, the congregation plans to hold a final service on September 29.
The decision to close comes after over a year of uncertainty, with church leaders having originally met in 2018 to discuss how to overcome "increasing challenges", which included dwindling congregation numbers and the departure to new premises of Good Shepherd, who had previously occupied part of the building.
Reverend Christopher Collins, the minister of Darlington Street Methodist Church spoke about the difficult decision the congregation had to make.
He said: “The church council has been on a faithful and prayerful journey about the future of the church for some time. Faced with the mounting costs of maintaining the property and the energy required to manage such a building effectively, the church council has taken the decision to close.
"This has taken great courage and grace given that Darlington Street is not only significant to members and their families but is also a notable building in the city and in the history of Methodism locally."
The future of the building, which hosts several organisations including the Wolverhampton Fairtrade shop, is not yet certain as discussions continue with property consultants Bruton Knowles about plans going forward.
Details of events planned for September will be available from the church and worshippers who attend services at Darlington Street will be seeking other churches to attend.
Reverend Collins hopes that the building can still be used in the future as a centre for Methodist worship.
He said: “In reaching this point, the church council has explored a broad range of possible solutions and there are still hopes that the building can be utilised for the benefit of the city in line with our Methodist ethos.
“Methodism should be rightly proud of the contribution of the church to the life of the town since the 1740s and from our current site since 1825 and it is our prayer that Methodism still has much to offer the life of our city centre.”
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