The number of people who go regularly to Church is declining year by year, although we all expect our local church to be available for christenings, weddings and funerals. It is often a struggle to keep often old buildings badly in need of repair in use. Every year churches close – another loss to those communities.
In Brinnington, the parishioners and local community are looking at how to keep St Luke’s church alive in the face of a crumbling building and running costs that have become unaffordable. At a well-attended public meeting held in the church (chilly, as the heating system can’t cope!) the vicar explained how the week to week running of the building is now simply beyond the means of the church. There is a backlog of major repairs. If they don’t do anything, St Luke’s will close.
However, they have come up with a plan which could turn this crisis into an opportunity. The proposal is to sell the church building and part of the land to a national supermarket and use the money to rebuild a modern, well-designed church on the back of the parish centre. The plans would include a new dedicated garden of remembrance, and the design means that the church space would open up into the parish centre for big events like weddings and funerals.
We’ve tried in the past to attract a big supermarket to Brinnington, and people have felt let down when it didn’t happen. There will always be a role for the small local shops, but a supermarket would give people more choice and hopefully offer local jobs as well.
I think these plans are exciting. It’s very early days and we don’t have any guarantees the negotiations will succeed. However the fact that there will be more people living in Brinnington means that there will be more potential customers for a supermarket.
I do hope the negotiations go well because getting a lovely new church building and a supermarket would be a win-win for Brinnington.