HONITON: Fears for future of St Paul’s Church

Rector says church faces a cash crisis.

THE beating heart of Honiton’s town centre faces closure - if the community does not step forward to help.

St Paul’s Church has been struggling to make ends meet, as running costs exceed its regular income by �382 every week.

The church is also responsible for the running and the upkeep of the Mackarness Hall.

The Rector of Honiton, Reverend Sue Roberts, said: “Unfortunately, our income over the last few years or more has not kept pace with our expenses, despite very careful budgeting and frugal housekeeping.

“The situation is grave - we are dipping into our reserves, which has been an ongoing situation for some years.

“But I don’t believe it’s insurmountable.”

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It costs �2,164 a week to run the church, which has to pay for electricity and insurance, as well as clergy and office expenses – exceeding its regular weekly income of �1,782.

Miss Roberts said the church coffers have only four to six years, at the most, left in reserve if the shortfall in funding continues.

“We are dipping into our reserves beyond the level recommended by the charity commission – it’s a serious situation.”

She added: “We want to address the problem before we hit the bottom line.”

As a response to the growing financial problems, the Parochial Church Council launched The Responsibility is Ours (TRIO) campaign to ensure the doors are kept open in the future.

“We have a huge amount of goodwill from the town and we are very lucky to be where we are in the High Street,” said Miss Roberts.

“If we can’t get the money, we have to go back to the budget to see what we can take out

“The church would have to rely on more good will and volunteers, but even that is not going to pay electricity bills or building repairs.”

More on this story is in today’s Midweek Herald.