It has been announced that the bells at St Michael’s and All Angels, Ryde, will ring out for the last time on December 30, 2018.
The diocese has confirmed that, due to health and safety concerns following a survey of the church and hall, the public liability insurance will not be renewed, and the church will be closed. It appears that the church has not had electrical surveys done for many years and work would probably require work done. The roof will be repaired to keep the church watertight, but this will consume all the church’s finances.
The diocese has stated that it will not fund work on a church with no purpose, no congregation and no parochial church council or clergy. Interested parties have tried to raise funds as a community, but it was argued that the amounts needed would be too great.
Those connected with the St Michael’s have no wish to see the demise of the church and would like to see new avenues explored by the diocese and the community, in an attempt for it to remain open. The hope is that this will only be a pause in the life of the church, but there are no plans to hold any further events.
Statement from Cllr Karen Lucioni “The past few days have been emotionally challenging, however this is just another chapter in the life of this beautiful church. 2019 will bring a clearer way forward and you can rest assured that I am still involved and working towards a successful conclusion. I welcome all the community’s concerns, ideas and the passion shown.
“I believe a way forward should be structured and thought through to support new opportunities at St Michaels and All Angels Church. I would like to thank “the friends of the church” who have been extremely committed and organised wonderful events that were very well supported by the community. I am certain this is not the end for St Michaels and working together we will find a way!”
It will remain open until December24, and visitors are encouraged to call in to view a church that remained open through two world wars.