A church in Ruswarp will close following a consultation earlier in the month.
St Bartholomew’s Church has suffered from a falling number of parishioners in recent years, with the congregation dropping to single figures back in 2016.
Questions were also raised over the viability of the church itself, including the maintenance of the building, the church’s finances and the number of volunteers on hand to help with the running itself.
Now, following a consultation over its future, the Archdeacon’s working party agreed to recommend to the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee that the church
should be closed.
While the process goes on, services will continue as normal at the church, with baptisms, marriages and funerals still being held.
The local primary school will also be able to continue their use of the church until its closure.
A statement published in the parish notice sheet read: “After the public consultation on Thursday October 4th, The Archdeacon’s working party agreed to recommend to the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee that the church should be closed. If there are no objections raised at the various legal stages that must be gone through , the process is likely to take nine to twelve months. During that time the usual services will be held and it will be possible to hold Baptisms , Marriages and funerals and the school will continue to use it for worship and other activities.”
The church is in a group of four in Whitby, with its sister churches being St Hilda’s, West Cliff, St Mary’s near the Abbey and the church of St John the Evangelist on Baxtergate.
With the decline in numbers, St Bartholomew’s now holds only three evening services, on the second, third and fourth Sundays of the month.
“A lot of our congregation now join us on a Sunday evening, but have already worshipped earlier in the day at one of our other churches,” Father Michael Gobbett said.
“It’s been a steady decline in numbers. We were down to single figures by the end of 2016 and running services once a month. We’re now running them three times a month but it’s still a small group.”