Melton’s Catholics await verdict on possible closure of churches

Frances Levett who has joined forces with other worshippers in a campaign to save St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Melton from closure EMN-180509-131708001
Frances Levett who has joined forces with other worshippers in a campaign to save St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Melton from closure EMN-180509-131708001
0
Have your say

Some places of worship for Melton’s Catholics could be closed with a decision now expected soon on a major overhaul of the parish.

A review was launched after Mass attendance in the town fell by almost a third in the seven years up to 2016, and the number of priests declined.

Cream teas are served in the gardens of St John's Catholic Church in Melton - the proceeds willl go to sprucing up the gardens EMN-180509-160739001

Cream teas are served in the gardens of St John's Catholic Church in Melton - the proceeds willl go to sprucing up the gardens EMN-180509-160739001

Six options are now being considered which could lead to any of the three diocese places of worship closing.

There were three weekend Masses in the town up until last summer, with one each in St John’s Church, in Thorpe End, St Peter’s, on Welby Lane, and the St Francis Convent chapel, on Dalby Road.

This has since reduced to two - with one each in St John’s and St Peter’s.

The review findings have now been published by the Diocese of Nottingham with Bishop Patrick McKinney set to choose from six options.

They include proposals to consolidate all services at one of the churches or the convent chapel, which would lead to the other two being closed.

Alternatively, two places of worship could be retained, or just St John’s might be kept with services shared with the town’s Anglican St Mary’s Church, which has capacity to hold more people if required.

Friends of St John’s, which dates back to 1842, collected hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for it to be retained.

Member Frances Levett said: “We hope the Bishop finds that we need a Catholic church in the town centre.”

l Friends of St John’s Church have held their first fundraiser to pay for renovation of the gardens at the Thorpe End building.

They raised more than £300 by serving cream teas and taking guided tours of the church.

Some of the proceeds will also go to a fund to re-lead the east window.

Treasurer Ann Kirby said: “It was marvellous to see the garden such a hive of enjoyable activity, and to see the church doors standing wide open. This is a town centre church, and we really want to see it at the heart of the local community.

A big thank you to everyone who supported us. It was the first event of this kind, but it won’t be the last.”