Ely’s United Reformed Church to close after 80 years on Easter Sunday

March 11, 2013 No Comments »
Members of the congregation of the United Reformed Church Les Bowring, Joy Thompson, Idris Jones, Clive Curtis and Brenda Jones will meet for the church’s final service on Easter Sunday.

Members of the congregation of the United Reformed Church Les Bowring, Joy Thompson, Idris Jones, Clive Curtis and Brenda Jones will meet for the church’s final service on Easter Sunday.

After more than 80 years of serving the community, a church in Ely will deliver one final service on Easter Sunday.

The congregation at the United Reformed Church at Grand Avenue can no longer afford to keep their building open after dwindling down to just 14 over the past few years.

Church elder Idris Jones, 80, said the congregation had been paying for the bills and overheads out of their own pockets for some time.

He said: “It’s such a shame, because it’s been a real focal point in Ely for years now.

“We had a small celebration on February 10 with former members of the congregation coming back, but we’ll be shutting our doors for good soon.”

The United Reform Church on Grand Avenue was first founded in 1927.

The United Reformed Church on Grand Avenue was first founded in 1927.

Founded in 1927, the church has been a focal point in the Ely community for 86 years.

In the past, it housed various community groups and many of its congregation have been attending all their lives.

Mr Jones said: “I was in the Boys’ Brigade during the ’50s and ’60s and we used to have a Sunday School of nearly 400.

“But now all we have left is a women’s group who meet on a Wednesday.”

Dedicated members of the congregation have continued services against the odds since 2010, when the last of their ministers left.

Retired reverend Tom Arthur, 69, who now lives in Canton, came to Wales 25 years ago from Chicago and spent four years at the helm of three of Ely’s churches, including the one on Grand Avenue. He said the news was very sad, but added it was a situation happening all over Wales.

“Every day in Wales a church is closing, if not even more often than that,” he said.

“It is very saddening, and the congregation there is so friendly and welcoming. It is a shame.

“I would say the four years I spent there were very happy ones.

“Fortunately, there is another church nearby, so that community won’t be lost.”

The church’s final service will take place on March 31.

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