‘Church development has exciting potential’

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EDITOR - Thank you for reporting the exciting possibilities for the development of St Matthew’s Church into a fit-for-purpose community space (Standard, 12 October).

Every church is a community space which those who actively worship use and pay for, but the building is not for the exclusive use of the worshipping community.

Many community activities take place or are organised from the church, and the refurbishment of the building will support the plans to develop a heritage strand to the tourist industry of the town.

Skegness has a number of important heritage assets and these can be linked by footpaths, cycleways and public transport to encourage people to explore and find out about the history of the area.

Experience in other areas shows that heritage has the potential to add 10 per cent to visitor numbers, which already make Skegness the fourth most visited resort in the UK.

This will substantially increase the annual income of the local economy. Investing £700,000 will ensure that the local economy of Skegness is supported over many years to come.

We invite your readers to call in at St Matthew’s Church to take a look at the proposals.

The Church of England holds many assets in trust which, under the terms of the giver, cannot be sold but the interest can be used to pay stipends of the clergy and their pension liabilities.

This makes the church asset rich but cash poor. Community funding in support of community activity reflects the partnership of church and community in the ‘big society’.

As partners in the Skegness Fellowship of Churches, we are pleased to support the imaginative ideas that the New Day Christian Centre has for development of The Street in North Parade.

Their project will add to the wide range of community support offered by the churches, which includes the community larder and the homelessness project operated by the Salvation Army.

The connectedness of church and community is a clear indication that a Christian society values everyone.

C M FRANCE

Rector of Skegness