St Vigor's & St John's

St. Vigor's

St. Vigor's Church

Closure as a Worshipping Community

The PCC of St. Vigor’s met formally for the last time on Tuesday 7th March 2023. In recognition of the faith and commitment shown by the worshipping community, past and present, there was a final service of worship on Sunday 16th April 2023 to celebrate some 800 years of such services at St. Vigor’s.

Next Steps

Having met formally for the last time on Tuesday 7th March 2023, the PCC will now operate on an informal basis until the building is officially closed under a Pastoral Measure, and this first part of the closure process is expected to continue until the end of 2023 at the earliest. At that point, the Diocese will be responsible for the building, including maintenance and insurance etc., and they will then enter into the second part of the process, which is to find an alternate use for the church building.

This second part of the process can be expected to take a considerable time, measured in a few years possibly. During that time, the PCC will continue to be responsible for the upkeep of the churchyard, and we are most grateful to The Parish Council and parishioners for continuing to support us by facilitating the mowing of the grass.

From a financial perspective as of April 2023, the PCC has sufficient funds to maintain our very basic expenditure into 2024. Further, the PCC is proactively working with the Diocese and the Parish Council with regard to all matters concerning the closure process.

Should you have any issues or concerns or require further details or indeed other information, including with regard to Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals at St. Vigor’s, please contact The Rector.

Background

For a number of years, the PCC of St. Vigor’s has been finding it difficult to run the church on a day-to-day basis and keep on top of the fabric. Sadly, and after much deliberation and consultation with the village, together with our numbers having declined to just a few, the PCC, with great reluctance and sadness, resolved to close the church as a worshipping community.

Since the end of 2019, our regular attending membership (those attending at least once a month) has declined from 15 to just 4, and Sunday worship is often attended by just 2 or 3 people in addition to the clergy and preachers. Primarily, our lack of numbers has made it impossible to continue as we are and this also brings with it financial constraints. 

Going back another 10 years since 2009, the 5-yearly or quinquennial inspections by the church’s architect have seen an increasing necessity to carry out major repairs. Applications for funding to-date have not been successful, as monies from grants is a scarce commodity and is allocated only to projects that provide greater benefit to more people than our situation is able to offer. The last quinquennial in 2019 summed up the state of the fabric by saying “everywhere is now ripe for repairs”. In particular, replacement of the nave and chancel roofs, repairs to the tower and other essential items would require in excess of £150,000. Further, a survey of the historic wall monuments required urgent action to two of them for reasons of public safety (at a cost of some £16,000) and a further £100,000 would need to be found to preserve and maintain the rest. However in total, a sum well in excess of £500,000 (2020 estimates) would be required to make St. Vigor’s a community asset with improved access and basic facilities (toilet and kitchen etc.) such that it could be used beyond one hour on Sundays.

With regard to general finance, the basic annual expenditure is some £3,500 for heating, lighting, insurance and expenses etc. That figure does not include any expenditure that has to come from church funds with regard to general repairs to the fabric. Even the basic expenditure places a great strain on the few left in the congregation.

Further, our current contribution to the Parish Share (contribution to The Diocese for the provision of clergy) is currently £5,400 (£450 per month) and that has had to be reduced from the due amount of £8,310 (currently fixed at the 2021 contribution rate by The Diocese) to avoid running into debt.

Therefore, after careful consideration of the impact on the village and the building itself, at our APCM in April 2022, the PCC decided to approach The Archdeacon about closing St. Vigor’s as a worshipping community. Subsequently, there were a series of meetings with The Archdeacon and villagers, and you can follow the timeline and read the associated notes below.

 

Updated 01/05/2023

Sunday's Services in the hall
21st January

Unfortunately, the heating at St. John’s Church, Chilcompton, has broken down and the 9:00am and 10:30am services will be held in the Church Hall. Further, this means we will be unable to deliver the 10:30am service via Zoom. You may like to join with the Church of England’s Online Service.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

Refurbishment
Thursday 2nd November

Planning to visit St. John’s Church, Chilcompton? Please note that the building will be closed to visitors on Thursday 2nd November to enable further work to the refurbishment of the chancel floor to be carried out safely. Thursday’s Holy Communion will be held the Church Hall. The church will be open again to visitors from Friday 3rd November.

We apologise for any inconvenience.