Historic Melton church to close after 152 years
It will be a sad moment when the last service is held at Sage Cross Methodist Church on January 7 but the local methodist circuit says it cannot afford to carry out essential repairs or pay for the upkeep of the building.
Members will now attend services instead at the Sandy Lane Methodist Church in the town or village churches in Stonesby, Long Clawson, Frisby and Hoby.
Sage Cross Church will go up for sale for an alternative use.
Rev Ruth Simpson, Superintendent Minister for the Melton Mowbray Methodist Circuit, told the Melton Times: “We have been getting 40 to 45 at Sunday services at Sage Cross and they are all very sad.
"For some of them it’s been their church for almost all of their lives. They are grieving really.
“But most of them realise that the time has come and we just can’t carry on there so the best and the most practical thing to do is to close.”
The closure is also a blow to the many people who attend various family and community groups at Sage Cross, including yoga, the child contact group and mums and toddlers.
“We’ve tried to accommodate the church-run groups at Sandy Lane – they’ve all been offered space,” said Rev Simpson.
“Some of the other groups could hire the facilities at Sandy Lane or they’ll find another venue.”
Explaining why the decision was taken to close and sell off Sage Cross Methodist Church, she said: “It is a very old building that needs an awful lot of money spent on it that we don’t have.
“We don’t have enough funds for the upkeep even if we did renovate it so sadly it was decided that it was time for that one to close.”
The church was built in 1871 and services in its early years were very well attended, with a capacity in the building for 700 worshippers.
The building has been redeveloped over the years and a modern extension was added in 1987.
Rev Simpson added: “I hope it goes to good use.
"Perhaps a developer will buy it or somebody will want it for the footprint that it has got because it is quite a large building.”