Dicoese: No final decision made on Honiton St Michael’s Church closure

PUBLISHED: 11:00 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:57 13 March 2018

St Michael's Church, Honiton. Photo by Terry Ife

St Michael's Church, Honiton. Photo by Terry Ife

Archant

The Diocese of Exeter has clarified the processes behind draft proposals outlining the closure St Michael’s Church in Honiton.

In a letter sent to the Herald, the Venerable Christopher Futcher, Archdeacon of Exeter, said neither the Diocese nor the Bishop decides to close churches.

He said the decision is made by the parochial church council (PCC) of the church itself, which then asks the Bishop to confirm the decision.

Mr Futcher said: “In this case, the PCC voted to close St Michael’s as far back as 2012, and strenuous efforts have been made since to see if there is a way to keep the church open, either as a space for worship or for another purpose.

“Sadly, despite exploring lots of different options, ultimately no viable proposal for St Michael’s has been found.

“The PCC has again confirmed it can no longer maintain the building, which has no heating and requires extensive building work.

“However, it is important to note that no final decision on closure has yet been made.”

Devon has more than 600 Anglican Churches, 91 per cent of which are listed.

Congregations and communities work tirelessly each year to maintain their conditions.

Mr Futcher added: “We share the passion of local communities for our church buildings, many of which in smaller rural communities, are the only remaining public space.

“The Church of England nationally is backing a project here in Devon called Growing the Rural Church to ensure churches use that space as creatively and collaboratively as possible, to serve their wider communities as well as congregations.

“Honiton of course will continue to be served by St Paul’s Parish Church on the High Street, whatever the future of St Michael’s.

“Our vision is to grow in prayer, make new disciples and serve the people of Devon with joy and we are committed to reaching and serving as many people as possible, within our buildings and outside them.”

At Honiton Town Council’s latest meeting, councillors opted to write a letter expressing their regret at the possible closure of St Michael’s.

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