AN HISTORIC church is set to close after more than 100 years serving the village of Aberbeeg.

Christchurch in Aberbeeg is set to shut its doors after the local church council asked the Bishop of Monmouth to declare it redundant, blaming structural issues, high maintenance costs and dwindling congregation numbers.

A statement from the church council said the closure of Christchurch, which is 102 years old, had not been an easy decision but that the building was suffering from "serious structural decline".

Parish priest, Reverend Patrick Coleman, said the cost of making the church safe could be up to £40,000, while the cost of making it "fit for modern day use" would be into six figures.

He added that the church's small congregation of 11 people could worship at other nearby services, and that the church was now focusing on different ways of working, such as outreach projects in the community.

If the Bishop of Monmouth agrees to the closure - a decision he will make next month - the Church in Wales will sell the building, and dispose of its contents appropriately.

But community group the Friends of Christchurch is due to meet tonight to discuss the church council's request for closure.

The Friends will meet in Aberbeeg Community Centre at 6.30pm.


IT IS very sad that such a handsome church as Christchurch, Aberbeeg is facing closure.

Not only from the point of view of the loss of another place of worship for the community, but also from an aesthetic point of view. Christchurch is a lovely building, in an enviable elevated position with fantastic views over the surrounding valleys. Fairly isolated as it is, though, it has also seen congregation numbers dwindling.

And we understand the difficulties facing parish priest the Reverend Patrick Coleman and the church council after the building was found to be suffering serious structural decline requiring tens of thousands of pounds in repairs.

The chances of raising such a significant sum of money from a congregation of just 11 people would be slim. And when the number of worshippers falls to such an extent, it is difficult to put forward a case for the church to absorb the cost.

We notice that a local councillor has come out against the closure proposal.

So if support can be galvanised either to raise the money or to increase public support for the church, then perhaps there just might be a glimmer of hope.