A COMMUNITY has voiced alarm over the proposed closure of a church described as a "focal point" of the area.

St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, in Gartons Lane, Clock Face, has been earmarked for closure as part of a review of church buildings in the area.

Parishioners say the church was founded in 1952 and was paid for by local families making contributions and has served the community for the past 70 years and has continued to be at its heart. 

Ward councillor for Bold and Lea Green, Allen Makin, expressed opposition to the closure.

"Not only does the church provide a place of worship to meet the spiritual needs of the local people, but also provides a much needed focal point for the local community," he said.

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This includes being the base for the Sutton Food pantry and cafe where people can purchase a weekly food shop for £4, a weekly arts and crafts session at the church helps to maintain local contacts and prevent isolation.

Cllr Makin added: "With the possible development of more housing on Gartons Lane and a scarcity of local community centres it does seem that the demise of the building would be a missed opportunity for the people of Clock Face and Sutton.

"I have seen the despair of local people who have worshipped there and used the facility for many years. There is nowhere else locally to provide a community venue. We hope that the Church authorities will see their way to reverse the decision."

Parishioner Rita Parr, a verger at the church, whose family helped build St Michael's, said: "We don't want it to close, it's a community church and it's also got the wonderful food pantry. 

"We manage to get 50 or 60 people to the food pantry. It's like a little community hub where they interact with one another."

She added St Michael's also caters for disabled people who would not be able to access another church.

St Helens Star: St Michael and All Angels ChurchSt Michael and All Angels Church (Image: Diocese of Liverpool)

When asked about the issue, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Liverpool explained Church St Helens is carrying out a thorough review of its church buildings to assess those that are helpful places to serve local communities throughout the borough. 

They said it is looking to invest in those that work for the future, referencing The Mount Church in Fingerpost, as an example.

The locally-driven review has produced a set of proposals including the closure of St Michael’s church building.

The Star has previosuly reported on the proposed closure of St Nicholas' Church Hall in Sutton under the review.

The spokesperson said the food pantry that is run from St Michael's will remain there until a suitable local venue is found, and added that Church St Helens are determined the vital service remains available for the community. 

A spokesperson for Church St Helens said: “We are planning to invest in the community of Sutton and having considered the available options believe that All Saints and St Nicholas are the best buildings to do this from.

"St Michaels is not ideally located for this work and we believe the site would be best released for other uses. We understand this causes concern for some and will continue to talk to people about our proposals.

"We believe that the church has a strong role to play in the Sutton community and we will be able to strengthen our presence there through focusing on All Saints and St Nicholas.”