A historic church in Leavesden will close its doors for the final time this December after 125 years.
Leavesden Road Baptist Church’s Ministry say that the church building being given a Grade II listing by Historic England early last year, together with the pandemic, has added extra pressures on an already stretched congregation.
Reverend Maureen Hider said: “The decision to close the church has not been an easy one, but after 125 years of service to God, and the local community, we feel that we have been led to bring this phase of God’s vision and plan for this community, to completion.
“As a church, we see the need to adapt and respond to the changes in society, and with regular church attendance in decline, new ways need to be found to connect with the community we are called to serve.
“We had plans, at an advanced stage, to transform our buildings into an extensive, modern, facilities suitable for our own use as a church, and, also, that of the local community.
“However, these plans were thwarted by Watford Borough Council’s decision to seek Grade II listing of the building.
“As the church is, financially, totally self-supported by the congregation, and had already spent a lot of money preparing the plans for the renovations, it became clear that the added demands on maintenance of a listed building would make it unrealistic to continue.
“We are sad that the church is closing, but our faith is strong, we believe God has something new for us as we move forward, and we are trusting Him for whatever the future holds for us.”
A service of celebration for the 125 years of ministry will take place on Sunday, November 28 at 10.30am, which will include a ‘completion ceremony’. The church welcomes anyone who has had an association with them at any point.
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “Leavesden Baptist Church has made a big contribution to the local community over many years and I was really sad to hear they will be closing their doors at the end of this year.
“The decision to award the Church a Grade II listing was made by Historic England, the body responsible for protecting the most precious historic buildings in the country from demolition or redevelopment. In this case they awarded the listing without hesitation.
“Whilst we recognise this must be extremely difficult for the Church, I have no doubt they will continue to play a part in our community in the future and I am grateful to them for their years of service to the town.”
The church family will then continue to hold services throughout the Advent and the Christmas period, with the final service being held on Christmas Day.
Further details can be found at www.lrbc-watford.org.uk/