Driffield News

Bums on Pews to help save Barmston church

All Saints’ Parish Church in Barmston is hoping to get more bums on pews amid the threat of closure.

The Medieval building has stood on Sands Lane since the 12th century but is now under threat, with its congregation down to single figures.

All Saints’, which has been Grade I listed since 1966, hosts a Sunday morning service twice a month and a family service on the final Sunday of the month.

The fortnightly Sunday service usually sees just three parishioners, which reduced since COVID, as I believe a number of older residents in particular are still wary to attend public indoor events.

Rev Richard Hare

These services, especially in the last two years, seldom reach double figures.

The population of Barmston is around 270, however a portion of that is made up of long-term holidaymakers and those who moved to the village in retirement.

Rev Richard Hare, vicar at All Saints’, believes this is a contributing factor to the dwindling congregation.

“I have been vicar at All Saints’ for five-and-a-half years and the congregation has always been very small,” he told the Wolds Weekly.

“The fortnightly Sunday service usually sees just three parishioners, which reduced since COVID, as I believe a number of older residents in particular are still wary to attend public indoor events.

“The family service usually only welcomes two or three families.

“We are not short of clergy, just parishioners who can carry out routine roles such as treasurer and safeguarding officer.

“Barmston has lots of retired residents and holidaymakers which I think makes up part of the population.

“Many maybe don’t have personal connections to the church, such as wedding and baptisms, so therefore have never even attended.”

The Bums on Pews initiative has been launched by All Saints’ in a bid to do just that.

A public meeting at the church has been called by the Archdeacon of the East Riding, the Ven Andy Broom, for Monday 4th April at 2pm to discuss its future.

All Saints’ Church, Barmston

Richard urged those who do not wish to see the church close to attend next month’s gathering.

“The future of the church will not be completely determined at the meeting in April,” he said.

“It is a chance for parishioners to discuss the church and its future.

“Closure is one of the options, whilst another is to carry on as we are if possible.

“It depends largely on the people of Barmston and my message to them would be, if you really care about the church, turn up to the meeting and air your views.

“It’s not just about saving the church; it is a chance for people to discover the love of God.

“The meeting is during the afternoon as we felt that most people would be comfortable going out during the day, rather than on an evening.

“It’s obviously not an ideal situation to be in, but my hunch is that it cannot be a problem isolated to Barmston.

“Fraisthorpe’s church closed around six years ago due to similar reasons and is now being turned into holiday homes.

“I don’t think that would be an option for Barmston due to our open churchyard.

“However, it would be a huge shame should a Medieval church close and it would be sad if I was the last vicar in the village.”

The public meeting will be held at All Saints’ Church, Barmston, on Sands Lane from 2pm on Monday 4th April.

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