Diocese of Portsmouth

    Bishop leads thanksgiving for faithful worship

    20 Jan. 2016

    BISHOP Christopher helped worshippers give thanks for more than 100 years of faithful worship – after they voted for their church to close.

    He led the final service at St Margaret’s, Eastney, in the church hall in December – the church building had already been temporarily closed for safety reasons.

    The PCC voted unanimously to ask the bishop to close their church building permanently, because it has structural problems that would involve spending £1m to put right, and to bring their parish to an end. They also agreed to close their church hall from January 1.

    Services had been held in the church hall since October after structural and electrical problems were found in the church. It had also been without a vicar since the retirement of the Rev Richard Smith.

    The bishop thanked them for their faithful worship in the church for many years and prayed for members of the congregation. Many are now attending services elsewhere.

    He said: “We give thanks for the years of witness and of fellowship, for the dedication of lay people and clergy, for the dignity and courage you have shown as you have faced this difficult decision to stop worshipping here. Even as we face the loss this day brings, we ask God’s blessing on us as we move forward from this day and this place, and find fresh places and fresh ways to continue our Christian witness.”

    Worshippers shared their memories of the church and what it had meant to them in the final edition of the St Margaret’s parish magazine.

    Doreen Bath said: “Peter and I, with our three children, joined St Margaret’s over 50 years ago when we moved into the parish. We found it a friendly, lively church which gave us a warm welcome. We will all miss it a great deal.”

    And Liz Bradbury said: “I first came to St Margaret’s over 20 years ago and I can truly say that parish and people have played such a big part in my life during these years. I remember with great fondness all those people who have supported me and my family during times of great sadness and also helped us to celebrate in happy times. The community at St Margaret’s has truly been a second family for me.”