Worship rise puts strain on church

Rev Alun Price
Rev Alun Price
Have your say

Sunday services at a Doncaster village church are to be abandoned - as a victim of their own success.

Rising congregation numbers at Loversall Parish Church have placed too big a strain on the 13th century building’s water supply and antiquated heating.

Some churchgoers are said to be unhappy at having to travel to nearby Wadworth for Sunday worship from next month, but the vicar is adamant that Grade II* listed St Katherine’s will not be closed.

A midweek Holy Communion will be conducted and the church will still hold weddings and funerals.

A 30 per cent rise in numbers attending the two churches since 2010 has ‘stretched the available facilities’ to the extent the flock began to dwindle in the harsh winter.

One of the main problems is the toilet facilities, which do not have their own water supply.

The pipe to the church reaches only as far as a tap in the graveyard and has to be turned off in the winter, when water has to be brought in by container.

The Rev Alun Price, priest in charge of both churches, said: “We have to bring water to the church from the vicarage to flush the toilet and make refreshments.

“If you attend church and find the toilet won’t flush properly it doesn’t make for a wonderful environment.”

Mr Price said the old heating system, which has a tank that also has to be filled by hand, is inefficient and needed to be on for three days to heat the church up for winter Sunday services.

“Some weeks, for no apparent reason, it did not work. A new heating system will not be installed as modern systems require a water supply. We have had a lot of visitors coming and shivering.”

A damp floor over the winter and a potholed and muddy access road to the church have also inconvenienced the congregation.

“At the recent church annual general meeting, concern was expressed as to the effect the issues would have on growth in numbers attending church.

“It was agreed to maintain the momentum of the last three years, so the Sunday services will be moved to Wadworth from Sunday, June 16.

“Some of the people from Loversall are not particularly happy because it is a beautiful church.

“If there is enough momentum to get a water supply perhaps we could do something but there is absolutely no intention to close the church completely,” said the vicar.

St John the Baptist Church at Wadworth, which dates from the 12th century, has a proper water supply and kitchen facilities, and a reliable heating system. Plans for a new toilet are well advanced.