South East Wales

Protesters vote to buy closure-threatened Maerdy church

Worshippers who have staged a month-long sit in at a south Wales church threatened with closure, have voted to buy it.

The Church in Wales offered parishioners at All Saints Church in Maerdy, the building for £1,000, well below the £25,000 market value.

Protesters have held a sit-in at the church - which officials say needs £400,000 of repairs - for a month.

Campaigners dispute the repair costs, claiming they would total £100,000.

One campaigner, church warden Barbara Daniel, said accepting the offer requires the group to employ the services of a lawyer who specialises in canon law as the deeds go back to the 18th Century.

Image caption A month-long protest has been going on at the church

'Keep community informed'

She thanked the community for its support during the meeting on Monday evening.

Local supporter Caroline Pugh explained that the next step was for the group to set up a committee to look after the process of buying the church.

"Once we've started the legal process we will keep the community informed," she said.

In a statement last week, Dr Morgan said the Church in Wales could sell the building for £1,000 provided it was kept as a place of worship.

The parochial church council (PCC), which is made up of elected members from the three local churches of Maerdy, Ferndale and Tylorstown, had voted to close All Saints.

The Maerdy branch abstained from the vote over the church's future.

The PCC has refused to give the church a year's reprieve, and the archbishop has refused to overrule that decision because it had been taken by a democratically-elected body.

The Church in Wales said the church was valued at £25,000, and the £1,000 it was asking would simply cover its costs in handling the sale.

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