Letter to the Village

St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Arkesden
Letter to the Village
3rd May 2022
Dear Friends
Before the pandemic, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) had been consulting with you about modernising the church to make it a more comfortable and flexible space while retaining its beauty and traditional qualities. We were about to present to you a plan based on feedback we received from you when the pandemic struck. Two years later, we find that we must reconsider the future of the church in Arkesden.
The modernisation project was designed because the PCC was aware that the church was facing critical decline and that people were being put off coming to church or using the building because it was so inhospitable. Over the last two years, however, fewer congregational members have returned to worship and the membership of the PCC has been much reduced. Similarly, others have not been able to support the church as actively as previously. This means that we have reached a critical point where the PCC feels it will not be able to either manage the building or run services in the church for very much longer.
We are faced with two main options:
1. We close the church and allow a Diocesan trust to carry out minimal maintenance on the building and churchyard.
2. We lease the church to a community trust of village residents who will manage the building for the good of the whole village.
Which option we take depends on whether or not the village is willing to take responsibility for the funding, maintenance and management of the building. We must emphasise that there is no money in the national church or the Diocese of Chelmsford other than for the minimal support in option one.
We would like to invite you, therefore, to a consultation meeting on Monday 23rd May 2022 at 7.30 p.m. in the Parish Church to explore the above options and hear any other suggestions.
Yours sincerely
Revd Margaret Davis (Vicar) and the PCC