PROPOSALS to split the united benefice and parish of St Peter’s in Lynchmere and St Paul’s in Camelsdale were revealed at a meeting of Lynchmere Parish Council.
The move was announced after services in each of the two churches before Christmas. Members of both congregations were told the measure was being taken because of a severe financial shortfall and the chronic lack of people properly equipped to lead, preach, take intercessions and lead the Sunday school.
The Rev David Talks expressed his very deep concern over both problems and said he considered the churches were not viable in their current form in the medium or the long-term.
Several years previously it had been suggested that the two worshipping communities should be separated, and the Rev Talks made his proposal after much consultation with senior clergy, other vicars in the immediate area, the relevant church wardens and the parochial church council.
He believed St Paul’s should move to the Guildford diocese, uniting with St Stephen’s in Shottermill, thus maintaining its links with Camelsdale Primary School and being looked after by a minister from St Stephen’s.
St Peter’s, he told the meeting, would become a ‘half-time’ post which as it was funded by a trust fund started by the Pratt-Barlow family many years ago, would be financially viable by itself.
The proposals are still to be given much thought and input from the congregation and parishioners.
Many questions have been raised by members of the congregations and further consultation is now to be undertaken.
More meetings to further the proposals will be held after the main services at both churches. At Lynchmere, the congregation will meet after the 9.30am service on Sunday and at Camelsdale they will gather after the 11am service on January 25.
Questions and suggestions will be welcomed. There will be further meetings including at the annual parochial council meeting on Sunday, March 22, after the joint service at 10am in St Paul’s.