Use this historic church or lose it

Inside Leigh Parish Church
Inside Leigh Parish Church

Leigh Parish Church is asking residents how the historic building can serve the community and warning they must use it or lose it.

The grade-II listed building is in dire financial straits after having to spend £100,000 on repair work following numerous lead thefts last year.

Leigh Parish Church

Leigh Parish Church

With reserves cleaned out church leaders are organising a public event to ask people in Leigh how the place of worship can be transformed into a hub to help the town.

However, residents are being warned that ultimately if more people do not come through the doors of the parish church the building could have to shut.

Church warden James Lawton said: “All our savings have been used to fix the damage and there is no cover and a substantial shortfall in funding the church.

“Maintaining a grade-II listed church is very difficult. We’re trying to look at the positives and see this as a chance to hit reset, to reach out to the community and ask what they want from us.

All our savings have been used to fix the damage and there is no cover and a substantial shortfall in funding the church

Church warden James Lawton

“In effect, we are saying to people that if they don’t use it they will lose it. In the last couple of years St Thomas’s has closed and people said it was terrible after the event, so this is a chance to do something before it’s too late.”

The Visioning Day has been organised for Saturday, February 25 and leaders say the church is going through some of its most important changes in 140 years.

With congregations at services declining the parish church is having to look at alternative ways to serve the community and has already opened its doors to not-for-profit group Leigh Film to hold cinema screenings there.

Sorting out the aftermath of the lead thefts has also meant ongoing refurbishment work like building a community space inside the church and improving access faces an uncertain future.

The Visioning Day at Leigh Parish Church takes place between 10am to 1pm, with residents welcome to drop in to have their say at any time.

To find out more, ring Rev Kevin Crinks on 01942 603603.