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Published: 08:33, 18 November 2019
| Updated: 20:45, 18 November 2019
A historic village church with just seven regular attendees could be forced to close its doors for good after 900 years.
Users of All Saints’ Church in Graveney fear its future is “under threat”, with a shortage of funding meaning it will only be able to function for another two years or less.
KMTV reports a lack of funding could force the closure of a historic church
Perched on the edge of the marsh on Seasalter Road, the church was built in the 12th century when the monasteries of Canterbury owned the Seasalter marshes.
In 2015, the church’s dedicated priest - who took services unpaid - retired, leading All Saints’ to join with the churches of Boughton and Hernhill, adding a £181 weekly bill towards the shared vicar.
Now, with outgoings which total more than £250 a week, more people are needed to support the church to save it from closure.
Parochial Church Council secretary Janet Turner said: “Of those regularly attending, there are only four who live in the village. From some 240 households in the village, this is disappointing.
“Like many rural churches, the congregation of All Saints’ is small and struggling to survive because of heavy costs.
“Those not involved with the way in which parishes are run may not realise the full costs of keeping a church open for use.
“The few of us who now regularly attend and manage All Saints (seven members of the PCC) work hard to pay the bills by holding fundraising events.
“Sadly, if we want to keep the church open for uses which the whole community can share, whether to worship or not, we urgently need wider support.”
So far this year - alongside at least three services on a Sunday each month - the church has hosted three weddings and many baptisms, with Graveney Primary School also using the facility for occasions such as the harvest festival.
Mrs Turner is urging villagers to come together to keep the community site running by either attending services or contributing to costs.
“After six years of hard work and fundraising this church, known to some as the Church on the Marsh, is in a good state of repair,” the 75-year-old said.
“Just £1 a week per household could ensure the continued presence of worship in the village, and the marking of important events in the lives of every one of you.
“There has been a place of worship on its grounds since Saxon times, and the current building began its life in the 1100s.
“The church has been ministering the needs of residents since the 12th century.
“It should be able to continue for another 900 years.”
Those wanting to contribute to keeping the church open can contact treasurer Michael Page via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
More by this authorKatie Davis