Parish Council note regarding St Mary's Church, Arlingham

This note has been hand delivered to all residents in Arlingham:


A message from the Parish Council – St. Mary’s Church, Arlingham

The story so far:

Several months ago, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) hand delivered a briefing note to all households to highlight the findings of a recent survey of the church which evidenced the need for a programme of works to St Mary’s, in particular to the roof. Work to establish the extent of work required to the roof and the estimated cost is due to conclude in early autumn.

The Parish Council offered to work with the PCC through these challenges. A Task Force of PCC and Parish Council members has formed. In the Rector’s letter in the May edition of the parish magazine he invited other parishioners to come forward to join this task force, although none have to date.

The Task Force has so far looked at options going forward, examined what would be necessary to identify the funding needed to put the church in good repair and whilst potential sources of funding amounting to nearly £60,000 have already been identified, there remains much work to do to deliver against the funding plan. The Task Force has also devised a communications and engagement plan.

The challenge of the church building is paralleled by the challenge of church attendance and the number of PCC members. The current trajectory is a decline in both, which raises concern about the sustainability of the church. Arlingham is far from alone in facing these challenges.

All these factors combine to bring risks to our parish church. It raises questions as to whether, after 650 years St Mary’s will close forever and be lost to our community. It is a one-way ticket.

The latest position:

The Diocese has recently issued a five-year strategy for the Stroudwater group of parishes which includes Arlingham. You can access this document here

This strategy will see churches and PCCs forming clusters to make best use of the resources at their disposal. Whilst single joint/combined PCCs are not proposed at this stage, the Parish Council has some concern that in time governance changes may take decisions on the future of St Mary’s out of the hands of Arlingham people.

The Task Force’s work needs to continue, sharing with parishioners all options in relation to the church’s condition and use of the church building and seek to reach a consensus. If the church is to continue in use, whether for regular worship or a reduced range of functions such as weddings, funerals, baptisms and festivals then it needs to be in a suitable state of repair.

Our PCC’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting will be held at the church on Monday 26th July. To be present throughout all parts of that meeting you need to be registered on the PCC’s electoral roll. The Parish Council understands that some long serving PCC members had for some while decided that this would be the meeting at which they would retire and take a well-earned rest.

None of the existing PCC members will be seeking re-election. Consequently, there is an opportunity for new people with fresh thinking to work together.

What can you do?

Please attend the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on 26 July, but first:

Please register to the Electoral Roll of St Mary’s. You can find the application forms in both MS Word and PDF at Completed forms need to be delivered by Sunday 11 July to the PCC’s electoral roll officer who is Judy Merrett, Croft Cottage, Friday Street, Arlingham.