At a recent meeting of the Parochial Church Council (PCC), members of the Council expressed unanimous concern at the sheer level of shrinking numbers at our Church services (on occasion the congregation could be counted in single figures). Firstly the PCC asked me to write a letter to all those who are members of our church, alerting them to this situation, which I have now done. Secondly the PCC has asked that I write to the High Halstow Times so that everyone in our Parish could be reached and kept abreast of what is happening and the possible consequences.
It is a matter of great concern to us that declining congregations mean less income, so of course we are finding it more and more difficult to balance our books. The congregation is responsible both for paying the stipend of our rector and also financing the repairs and upkeep of our church. You will have seen the scaffolding recently around St Margaret’s Church and the cost of those repairs was £28,000.
There is a danger that if we cannot meet our costs we will lose our rector and eventually our own church might close. I think that this would be a calamity for our village. People have worshipped at St. Margaret’s for hundreds of years. It is a place where people can come to be married in the presence of their friends, to celebrate the baptism of their children, to hold a funeral service surrounded by loved ones or simply to seek comfort in times of trouble.
I am therefore writing on behalf of the PCC to seek the support of everyone in our village. We are approaching the great church seasons, firstly of Advent, when we anticipate with excitement the birth of Jesus and secondly, of Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour. So we would greatly love to see you come to any of our services. Please speak to Stephen about any problems you may have. Remember you are always most welcome to attend the functions we hold.
If you share our concern we would also ask you to consider contributing to our funds.
The Rector and the PCC wish you all a happy and blessed Christmas and a peaceful New Year