The Church Commissioners held a hearing on Wednesday (1 June) to decide the future of St John the Evangelist Church in Coleford, and have announced that it will close permanently for regular worship. The decision has been welcomed by the Diocese of Gloucester and Parochial Church Council (PCC).
The proposal to close the church for regular worship, was originally put forward by the PCC and supported by the Diocese in 2013, after the electrics of the building were found to be unsafe for use and the building to require an estimated £1.8m for repairs and restoration.
Responding to the Church Commissioners’ decision, the Archdeacon of Gloucester, the Venerable Jackie Searle, said: “Seeking the closure of any church building is a great sadness, but I welcome the Church Commissioners’ decision. The Diocese of Gloucester is committed to an ongoing Church of England Church in Coleford, and this decision allows us to explore new options. Whilst the decision regarding worship is now made, the future of the building itself is undecided. I look forward to working with those who have expressed great connection to the building to find the right future for it, as we look to the flourishing of the Church in Coleford for future generations.”
Local vicar, the Revd Sarah Bick said: “I welcome this decision. Whilst it is of great sadness to close a building that has meant so much to so many, covering the huge restoration costs, together with developing the building to make it fit for the mission and ministry of the church in the 21st century, was too great a task for the PCC, congregation and local community. Our plans now include a heritage project to celebrate what St John’s has been, as well as looking forward to serving and engaging with the community in new and different ways.”
Anglican services continue at St Margaret Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at 9.30am on Sunday mornings. All are welcome.