An Update on St Andrew’s Church, Chardstock
St Andrew’s Church, Chardstock has a wonderful heritage and history of serving the community. So many people have given a great deal to it over the years and it has a special place in the hearts of many. However, it is now facing a number of real challenges :
- it is now operating without churchwardens
- the PCC is operating with just five members and two of these are expecting to move away from the village in 2021
- the PCC Treasurer is one of these and therefore this position will again become vacant
- regular attendance at normal church services has dropped to the low teens
- St Andrew’s reluctantly took the decision in 2020 that they could no longer afford to pay their Common Fund in full.
- St Andrews is a beautiful Victorian church building, but there is a need to invest significantly in its maintenance.
The PCC have tried to keep the community informed of the difficulties faced in maintaining the normal functioning of the church, and have encouraged the involvement of as many as possible. However, whilst there undoubtedly remains a real respect for the church in Chardstock, the situation has continued to decline, much exacerbated by the coronavirus restrictions which have affected everyone over the last year.
The time has come when serious decisions must be taken. After discussions with the Archdeacon and Diocese of Exeter, the PCC has been recommended to enter into consultation regarding St Andrew’s becoming a ‘Festival Church’.
What is a ‘Festival Church’ ?
Festival Church is a title given to the church building that:
- no longer offers regular services of worship on a weekly or even monthly basis
- would be open for private prayer and visits
- can continue to offer a few special services e.g. harvest, Christmas, Easter
- can be used by the community for baptisms, weddings, and funerals
- can be used for community events
- does not have its own PCC and is therefore not expected to pay into the Diocesan Common Fund
- responsibility for basic maintenance, care, booking and decision-making regarding the church will lie outside the community
St Andrews PCC is now seriously considering consulting upon becoming a ‘Festival Church’. At present it does not look as though St Andrew’s can continue as a traditionally operating church. To become a ‘Festival Church’ is not a decision which is taken lightly, but it is a status which can more easily be reversed than opting for closure which is a fate which has also had to be considered. Should the village community have the capacity in the future then it would be possible for a PCC and officers to be appointed and for Chardstock to again have its church building fully operational.
We are hugely grateful for all the support we already get from the community, but we have come to the point where we need to know what you as the wider community of Chardstock want from your parish church. Is it important to you? Would you be happy to see it close or are you willing to work with us to find a solution that keeps the church open for the community? Do you have a financial mind and would be willing to step in and act as treasurer?
Over the coming weeks the PCC will consider the options and especially that of becoming a ‘Festival Church’ and will seek to consult with the community.
Should you have any immediate thoughts or questions these can be addressed to the Rector of Axe Valley Mission Community team of churches :
Rev’d Clive Sedgewick firstname.lastname@example.org (01297) 792120
Welcome to our website, here you can find information about St Andrews Church in Chardstock.
We’re part of the Axe Valley Mission Community along with 7 other churches.
(For more info on the AVMC visit their website: http://www.axevmc.com )
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