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West Wratting church may have to close if warden not found

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A church with a healthy congregation may have to close if a new warden can’t be found.

Canon John Fellows, the House for Duty Priest at St Andrew’s Church in West Wratting, has warned that the church may be forced to close when he leaves unless a church warden can be found to take over duties.

The Diocese of Ely, under whose auspices the church falls, monitors churches on several criteria, including average congregation, financial viability, community involvement and the strength of its lay leadership.

“We’ve got a strong congregation,” said Canon Fellows. “Most aspects of the church are going extremely well.

“We are financially viable and we play a full part in the community. For some reason, though, we find it difficult to get people to become church wardens.”

The role of the church warden is to act as a bridge between the community and the church hierarchy.

“The ideal warden would come from within the congregation,” said Canon Fellows. “Someone who can approach the congregation and represent them, someone who can speak on their behalf. I’ve seen many different wardens in my time.

“You don’t have to do it the way the previous person did it, you bring your own skills to the role.”

Canon Fellows, who will turn 70 next year, is concerned that when he leaves, the church may have to shut.

He said: “If there is no church warden, they [the Diocese of Ely] will be looking long and hard at the church and saying if we can’t provide leadership, why should they keep the church open?

“I hope to persuade the parishioners that they can’t do without a church warden if they want to ensure the future of the church.

“Someone will have to come forward or suggest someone who can do it.

Anyone who thinks they would be suitable for the role or who knows someone who can help, should contact Canon Fellows on 01223 291265.

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