A beautiful church in Darlington will have its final service in February next year and church-goers are encouraged to find a new place of worship.

St John The Evangelist Church is a Grade II listed building and stands proudly on Neasham Road, just by Darlington Railway Station.

The Church of England church opened in 1850 and has been used by the people of Darlington in the St John parish ever since.

Many churches across the country are facing closure partly due to a decline in church membership.

The Northern Echo: St John The Evangelist Church, Neasham Road, DarlingtonSt John The Evangelist Church, Neasham Road, Darlington (Image: Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW)

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A spokesman from St John’s Parochial Church Council said: “It is with great sadness that the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St John’s, Darlington is having to consider that the church closes. 

"There is a legal process to be concluded for this to happen. Given the costs of winter fuel and the situation, the Bishop has allowed us to suspend services temporarily from Sunday 5th February whilst this process is ongoing.

“There will be further information about this in due course. We give thanks to God for the service this church has given to the community for 150 years.

"Sadly, with a small congregation, it now seems highly unlikely that we will be able to afford the running costs and maintenance of this very large building, or find the volunteers necessary to fill the roles required for the governance of the church as a charitable body.”

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Councillor Darrien Wright said: “It is sad to see such a prominent church in Darlington close, I have my own personal memories of attending many events in this church. St John’s Church is right on the edge of significant investment and regeneration of the Bank Top area, with a central point and the train station right on its doorstep.

“I haven't seen anything that confirms why it is closing but from things I have read on social media a dwindling congregation, lack of funds and significant repairs are the reason for the church closure. Many churches are facing similar struggles which are also impacted by the energy crisis too with rising gas and electric bills – I think this could be a bleak picture many churches will face.”

The Northern Echo: St John's was built in 1850St John's was built in 1850 (Image: Stuart Boulton)