HARVEST Festival weekend in Petworth also signals the annual ‘gift day’ held at St Mary’s in a bid to gather desperately-needed funds for the church.
The Rev Tim Wright will be in St. Mary’s Church on Saturday, to receive them.
“They are absolutely vital to the running of our lovely church and received with gratitude each year,” he said.
St Mary’s had to be self-funding, he added, and it cost some £54,000 every year to run.
“It may be felt this is purely a matter for the regular congregation. However, what may not be known, is before money can be spent on the upkeep of the building, or pay for heating and lighting, £4,000 every month must go to the diocese, which goes into central funds to cover clergy, training, and the work of the diocese.”
He said there was no support from either the government or the local councils.
“This is a very real strain on the congregation. If the church is to continue to make a useful contribution to the life of the town funds are desperately needed to maintain the building.”
As well as services, baptisms, weddings and funerals, St Mary’s is increasingly used to hold festivals, concerts, a choir, a youth group, toddlers, exercise classes, a bridge club, a scrabble club and inter denominational events.
“It is a major hub in the town – much-loved and required by our community.”