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Walkford United Reformed Church forced to close due to dwindling congregation

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WALKFORD United Reformed church has been forced to close after nearly 200 years as the elderly congregation had dwindled to only a dozen.

The United Reformed Church Wessex Synod said it was “saddened” to announce the closure of the venue in Ringwood Road but said the circumstances had left it with no alternative.

In a statement it said: “There were around 12 people that made up the congregation at Walkford URC each Sunday who were increasing in age, and it was felt that with a dwindling congregation they felt it best to bring their witness at Walkford to an end.

Walkford United Reformed Church (picture: Google)
Walkford United Reformed Church (picture: Google)

“Therefore at a church meeting it was agreed by a clear majority of the local membership that the church would close on 21st March.”

A special service to celebrate the life of the church, which was established in 1829, was held on 19th March.

Many of the Walkford congregation are now worshipping at Christchurch’s High Cross Church in Somerford.

The synod added it was “grateful for the generosity and goodwill of members who donated their time and made up the life of Walkford URC over the years”.

The Rev. Clare Downing, moderator of the synod, added: “Walkford URC has been an important part of the local community for many years.

“Whilst deciding to close has been a difficult decision for the church to make, the decision of the congregation to join with our church in Somerford is a positive move for all.”

A service was held on Easter Sunday celebrating the coming together of the two congregations.

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