Church closes its doors after congregation dwindles to just 15

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A church in Lytham opened its doors for the final time on Sunday after being in existence since 1863.

The Lytham United Reformed Church on Bannister Street, Lytham had been struggling with an avergae of around 15 people making its services recently.

A lack of financial resources, manpower and the ill-health of acting serviceman, David Butcher ultimately lead to the decision for the small congregation to close the Grade II-listed church’s doors for good.

Jack Henderson, a church elder and long-term congregation member of the church was present at the final service on Sunday.

He said: “The final service was emotional without being overt. Many people were subdued and down I’m sure.

“There were considerably more there compared to what we usually have and many were probably remembering marriages or children that have been baptised at the Church.”

Rev David Phillips, of the White Church in St Annes, said: “It is a really sad moment for a church in the area to be closing down.

“The White Church owes a lot to the Lytham United Reformed Church since its inception.”

The church’s fate will now be in the hands of the Church of England’s General Synod.

Although Mr Henderson would like to see the building keep its shape and character, he believes that the future of the building is not vitally important.

He said: “A building is a building, the act of worship is done by people and if it does end up being an art gallery or a block of homes then that doesn’t matter.

“I believe that many of the people who came to the church for services will stay local but I’ll wait for now before making my mind up on where I go in the future.”

Mr Henderson was also complimentary to Nicola Wiseman who took the final service on Sunday.

He added: “Mrs Wiseman conducted the sermon and address and it was just outstanding. It was great to see someone from the Church take it, I am very proud of her.”