Bright new future for St Michael's and All Angels Church in Dewsall

Hereford Times: St Michaels and All Angels Church at Dewsall near Hereford.Photo Chas Breton. (2791680) St Michaels and All Angels Church at Dewsall near Hereford.Photo Chas Breton. (2791680)

A TWENTY-first century touch is being used to breathe new life into a rural county church previously threatened with closure.

A meeting about the future of St Michael’s and All Angels Church in Dewsall was held in July after concerns were raised about whether it was feasible to keep running the ancient building.

But the local community did not take lightly to the idea of closure and have since set up their own community group – which uses social media – to raise the profile of the church.

Samantha Vaughan, one of the "friends" of the church, said: "We had a public meeting where the idea of closure was put forward, and suddenly 40 people were saying 'absolutely not, that’s not what we want to happen at all'.

"People were unsure of when services were held – people don’t look at notice boards anymore – so we are in the process of setting up a Facebook page. We're trying to bring the church into the 21st century – we have to market things in a different way now."

The small church, comprised of nave, chancel and bell turret with a shingled spire, is believed to date back to the 13th or 14th century.

The friends will use Facebook and Twitter to publicise events and services, and the link with Dewsall Court will be utilised to encourage weddings at the church.

Services have been changed to the first Sunday of the month at 11am with the friends also considering re-introducing a traditional "compline" service – the last of the day.

A business plan is also being drawn up to address funding, as well as a marketing plan.

“This little historic building is obviously very spiritual but we all have our own personal histories and nostalgia. We needed to bring that back into the fore again as this had been forgotten for a while," Samantha said.

Rector, Prebendary John Reese, confirmed there are no immediate plans to close the church.

He said it was "encouraging" that the group had been looking at new ideas for the church.

"That needs to continue really in the context of looking at how churches are maintained as buildings and viable congregations in very tiny communities," he added. "It is an issue affecting areas right across the country."

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