A VILLAGE Methodist church faces an uncertain future after a sharing arrangement with Anglicans ended.
St John’s Church in Sacriston and its Anglican neighbour St Peter’s joined forces in 2005 to build a new place of worship in Wesley Close for both congregation as their respective churches needed costly repairs.
But St Peter’s has pulled out because it can no longer pay its portion of the cost and has been merged with the parish of St Michael and All Angels in neighbouring Witton Gilbert.
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The Methodists are trying to raise £60,000 to buy out the Anglicans’ share but fear having to sell the building if the money cannot be found.
Church treasurer Malcolm Wadge said the church was home to activities and groups throughout the week as well as being a place of worship.
The church is applying for grants, seeking donations from groups and individuals and plans to hold fund-raising events.
Mr Wadge said the church had until September to announce its intentions.
If the funding was not forthcoming, he said, “the building in Sacriston would have to close, which would be a great shame.
“We went into this sharing agreement in good faith but the Anglican congregation couldn’t fulfil its financial commitments and they had to pull out of the agreement.
“That is the reason we now have to buy out their share.”
Revd Canon Robert Lawrance, Anglican Team Rector for Durham North and Area Dean for Durham said: "For almost two years the Anglican congregation looked for a creative solution to promote the mission of both denominations, but finally the decision was taken with great reluctance and with heavy hearts to pull out of the arrangement.
"We have gone to great lengths to ensure an accurate valuation and we support and pray for the Methodists as they seek to sustain their church in Sacriston.
“We will continue to look at any options and alternatives that might be applicable to the situation and are very happy to continue the dialogue.”
To help the appeal call Mr Wadge on 0191- 371 0242 or visit the church Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/sacristonmethodistchurch