Repair Costs too hefty so congregation moves to nearby
Final farewells to ailing church
By Daniel Owens - Chronicle reporter
A congregation in Northamptonshire has held its last Sunday
service as the village Baptist church has now closed after
more than 150 years.
Structural problems have left Baptist church leaders with
no alternative but to sell the 19th century building in Helmdon
and move services to nearly Weston-by-Weedon.
Experts carried out a survey late last year which revealed
the front entrance of the church had suffered major subsidence
and that £250,000 was needed to restore the building.
The church now looks likely to be demolished so that the land
can be sold for flats or houses.
The former church secretary and deacon, Rosemary Gulliver,
said: "The inspectors told us the building had basically
broken its back.
"There is no way we can afford the repairs so we are
having to move the worship centre to Weston-by-Weedon.
"People are generally more mobile these days and we don't
think we will lose anyone because of the move. It is only
just down the road and most of us have cars. We should be
"At one stage the church was one of six venues to come
under the umbrella of a church organization in the area.
One by one they have all been closed and a planning application
will now be lodged to get permission to turn the Helmdon church
into a residential site.
The proceeds from the land sale will be ploughed into improving
facilities at the new centre in Weston-by-Weedon.
Mrs Gulliver, whose family links with the church go back almost
100 years, said: "It was a tough decision to take, but
we are confident we have made the right choice.
"Last weekend saw a lovely remembrance and thanksgiving
service to think back to all the good times we have had here
and also to look forward to the future.
"It's a time of mixed emotions. We are sad at losing
Helmdon but hopefully we will have some good times at Weston-by-Weedon
in the years to come.
Northamptonshire Chronicle and Echo - 29th January 2004