News from Europe

Methodist Church fighting to survive in North Cornwall

The Church is struggling to raise thousands of pounds for essential roof repairs, even though it is located beside multi-million pound properties. Real estate developers would jump at the opportunity to acquire the church building and turn it into flats, but the congregation is determined to keep it as a house of God.

John Godwin, the church’s organist and treasurer explained the situation in an interview: “We’re the last of the little Methodist churches in this corner of North Cornwall. Our congregation by number has gone down, certainly since COVID. But believe it or not, we’re rebuilding and we’ve jumped from 12 to 24 members in the last two months because we’re desperate to preserve this iconic Church, which is now 120 years old. Our roof needs replacing as the nails are all rusted and the tiles need replacing at great expense. So now we just need to find the money. We’re now in an area where there is a diminishing number of residents. That’s typical of course of Cornwall. We feel it is our mission to stand firm. We were surrounded by residential small bungalows in large plots. But they’ve now been replaced by very high-priced properties – lovely properties – but we are left as a tiny sort of oasis, in one corner. The value of the church as a piece of estate is worth far more than the roof is worth. We are worth more to sell than to stay – to some people.”

Mr Godwin, who has been playing the organ at the church for 75 years, says that the area is well sought-after with wealthy second-home owners and rich celebrities. However, very few of the new homeowners attend the church. 

“We’ve seen very little of them, which is sad. But what we do see, of course, is our own regular visitors to North Cornwall, that come two or three times a year, and desperately want us to remain open and continue the mission in this corner. Our furthest regular traveller is from Inverness, who comes three times a year and graces us with her presence at worship and gives us immense support. Unbelievably, from being down in the dumps last November and the threat of closure by Easter, we are now seeking grants. The local circuit has loaned us the £32,000 so that we can get the roof repaired immediately to avoid deteriorating next winter. So yes, we’re trying to raise the funds to repay the loan. Rock Methodist Church still has a part to play in this fragmented community. Having served the community for a century, we are now turning to the community to help it continue.”


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