Amble church to close due to rising costs and dwindling congregation
An Amble church is set to close at the end of this year as the rising costs of maintaining the building and a dwindling congregation take their toll.
St Mark’s United Reformed Church, on the corner of Bede and Wellwood Street, has been in existence since 1972.
It was originally built in 1894 as The Congregational Church.
"Almost every ‘older’ resident has a connection - attending Sunday School, a baptism, a wedding, a funeral,” says church secretary Sue Swanston.
Prior to the events of the past year, in addition to worship, many organisations made use of the building for meetings, parties, quizzes, concerts for Christian Aid, even a ‘Berets and Beaujolais’ evening.
Since 2017, St Mark’s has been proud to be fully-inclusive in its Ministry, being registered for equal marriage, one of only three churches in Northumberland to be so.
However, the decision has now been taken to close.
Sue explained: “As time has moved on, the congregation has become fewer in number and the costs of keeping an old, Victorian building going have become unviable.
“After much soul-searching, the members decided in June to close the building at the end of December 2021. It will then be the responsibility of the URC’s Northern Synod to sell the property.
“St Mark’s family wishes to remain as a church fellowship, serving its community of Amble and is currently looking at a number of possible options to take this plan forward.”
The news will come as a blow to those groups which use it.
Sue admits: "The 60s group, The Local History Group,The Puffin Lounge, Weightwatchers, Amble Foodbank, and the Community Kitchen will all be reassessing their futures, and hopefully relocating.
“It has been wonderful that we were able to give the use of the whole building to the Foodbank during the lockdown period.
"Julie Baxter has been running The Community Kitchen from St Mark’s since the beginning of February and this works really well alongside the Foodbank. In fact, the corner where the church is situated has affectionately become known as Community Corner.
“We look forward with hope, and will always have the community of Amble at our heart.”