Row over Newport church chairs sell-off leads to boycott
A ROW has erupted between a Newport church and its former church warden after chairs donated by parishioners were sold off.
Avril Bevan says she’s furious that chairs with personalised plaques on them donated to help save St Paul’s Church, in Commercial Street in the city, were sold by the church when a new vicar took over.
But the church says the way worship is practised is different now, and they say they need the extra space to cater for their thriving congregation.
Mrs Bevan said: “We all bought chairs when the church was struggling a few years ago. They were £60 a chair and we sold around 100 chairs.
“My plaque said ‘people’s warden’ on the back of it, but when I last went in I couldn’t find mine anywhere. My father’s ashes are buried in the church grounds, my daughter was christened there and went to Sunday school there and I have been going to that church all my life but I won’t go there now after what they’ve done.”
Reverend Justin Groves said the decision hadn’t been made to upset people, and stressed all the plaques would now be mounted on a board in the church as a permanent thank-you to those who helped in the fight to save St Paul’s.
Rev Groves said: “It was a parish council decision ultimately to sell the chairs and I had their full support.
“We have changed the layout for worship at St Paul’s and the church is also used as a café during the week now too.
“The wooden chairs were very heavy and simply weren’t being used.
“We were also having a few people coming in and saying ‘I would like to sit inmychair’, well, as grateful as we are, and we are very grateful, they did belong to the church.
“We will put the plaques up on a board now where everyone can see them.
“We don’t want to see the church close again and we’ve made changes with that in mind.
“We have a congregation nowof around 70-80 people on a Sunday and the church has to keepmoving on,” he said.
But Mrs Bevan strongly feels the chairs weren’t the church’s to sell.
“It’s not good enough just to put the plaques up.
Those chairs were donated to the church by people who want to be able to use them and the church has no right to sell them,” she said.