Stevenage churches face closure due to lack of priests

PUBLISHED: 13:13 30 May 2013 | UPDATED: 13:23 30 May 2013

Christ the King Church in Filey Close may face closure

Christ the King Church in Filey Close may face closure

Archant

TWO churches face closure after being unable to recruit priests.

Christ the King Church on Filey Close in Stevenage is shared by Church of England, Roman Catholic and United Reformed Church congregations, and All Saints Church on Vardon Road in Stevenage is shared by Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic congregations, but both churches face closure due to difficulty in recruiting Catholic priests.

There are fears the other congregations will be unable to afford the premises without the Catholic Church’s contribution. This means the parishoners of all faiths may be forced to worship elsewhere.

The Catholic churchgoers are already being invited to services held at the Church of the Transfiguration in Stevenage Old Town and St Hilda’s Church in Shephall.

Father Fred de L’Orme, a priest at the Church of the Transfiguration, said: “It is a very regrettable situation. I think it is a direct result of the modern world being very materialistic. Fewer people are becoming priests because we are facing a period of aggressive secularism in which religion is being sidelined.”

While they have not yet officially closed, church leaders at Christ the King and All Saints are said to be assessing their options for future services.

A spokesman for Christ the King said: “It’s all up in the air at the moment as nothing has been officially decided. We will try to do what is best for our members.”

The churches are ecumenical premises, designed for the purpose of promoting relations between different Christian denominations. All Saints Church originally opened in 1974 while Christ the King is a part of the Parish of Holy Trinity Stevenage, a group that has been active for over 150 years.

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