Community rallies together to support church

By Tim Clarke Thursday 20 December 2012 Updated: 21/12 09:05

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Buy photos » Tidings of comfort and joy - Community centre manager Emma Harding (centre) gets a hug from Reverend Fran Binding and curate Hazel Charlton after coming to the aid of Holy Trinty and St Matthew's Church. Picture by Marcus Mingins 5112018MMR. Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com

THE VICAR of a church in Ronkswood which was forced to close after part of the ceiling collapsed has paid tribute to the community for helping to save its Christmas celebrations.

When Holy Trinity and St Matthew’s Church had to shut its doors at the start of this month amid concerns over the safety of the building it threatened to ruin the parish's Christmas services.

But the community answered the prayers of Rev Fran Binding with local pub the Punchbowl, Perry Wood Primary and Nursery School, Lincoln Green sheltered housing and Ronkswood Community Centre all offering to host some of the festivities.

Rev Binding said: "There has been so much support from the local community and people wanting to know how they can help. We will have a clearer picture of where we are and what to do next with the building in the New Year when we have received further information from diocesan advisers but until then we are just so very grateful for all the offers of help and support we have had from this great community."

"A group of community agency workers and councillors have met regularly over the last four years and the mutual support and encouragement we have all gained from that has now really paid dividends."

Problems with the church's heating and ventilation are believed to have created high levels of condensation which has caused some of the rendering to come away from the concrete ceiling.

The building is expected to remain closed until the spring while experts from the Diocese of Worcester assess how to tackle the problem and ensure the church is safe to reopen.

"We are currently planning to have winter church around the community as everyone seems really pleased to have us," Rev Binding added.

This Sunday's services will be held at Lincoln Green's community room at 8am and 10am while the Crib Service on Christmas Eve is being hosted by the community centre on Canterbury Road at 4pm.

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