South East Wales

All Saints Church, Maerdy, protesters to extend sit-in

Parishioners fighting the closure of a church in Rhondda now say they are prepared to occupy the building for the "foreseeable future."

The group began a sit-in at All Saints in Maerdy following what was due to be the final service on Sunday.

The Church in Wales said the final decision to close the building - which needs £400,000 in repairs - was taken by the parochial church council.

But Rhondda Cynon Taf councillor Gerwyn Evans said it was "too good to lose."

He is one of the All Saints parishioners taking part in the sit-in and said it could last for longer than the three days initially planned.

Sarah Morton of the group Friends of All Saints said: "We are fighting to keep this beautiful building open.

"The parochial church council has voted to close the church and we will stay here until they overturn their decision.

"We don't want another empty building in Maerdy and we certainly don't want it demolished so we are here and we will stay 24 hours a day until we can keep it open."

A public meeting last week in support of keeping the church open attracted about 100 people.

A Church in Wales spokesman said All Saints had a long history of building problems and now faced a bill for repair work estimated to cost at least £400,000.

"It is always very hard when a church closes," he added.

"Closure had been discussed by members over the years and as no alternative had been found the final decision was taken by the parochial church council with no-one voting against it."

He said services would continue after moving to a community hall.

The building, which opened in 1885, would be put up for sale once the closure was complete.

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