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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Churches face closure threat
St Matthias Church
The 56 churches cost 800,000 a year to maintain
More than a quarter of the churches in Brighton and Hove have been earmarked for closure because their upkeep is too expensive.

Overall it has been proposed that 15 out of the 56 churches in the city should be shut because of the cost of their maintenance and dwindling congregations.

The recommendations come in a review by the Brighton and Hove Pastoral Society which took two years to compile.

It is estimated that the churches cost 800,000 to maintain each year and Brighton and Hove has a higher density of them than anywhere else in the country.
Brighton churches facing closure
St Peter's
St Matthias
St Luke's, Prestonville
St Mary, Kemp Town
St Martin
St Mary Magdalene, Coldean
St Albans
The Chapel Royal
Stanmer Church

Among the churches recommended for closure is St Matthias although church warden Penny Buller said it should not be shut down.

"This is not a dying church this is actually a vibrant church that fulfils a real need in this community, not just for the congregation which is growing, but also for all the people who just use it a few times a year," she said.

Canon Neil Milmine, Rural Dean of Brighton, who is also vice-chairman of the society, said: "It is sort of modelled on the picture in the Bible of the vine where by pruning you actually give rise to new growth, new fruiting.

"Inevitably pruning is a painful process and our hearts go out to those who are feeling the pain of that."

Church leaders have stressed the report is only for discussion.

In Hove the churches earmarked for closure are St Julian Kingston Buci; St Andrew, Portslade; St Phillips; Holy Trinity; the parish church of All Saints and St Peter, Fishergate.

Other churches have been recommended for redevelopment and others have been put under close review.

Church earmarked for homes
17 Jun 03  |  Europe

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