Cash worries at historic Chorley church revealed

Chorley Unitarian Chapel.  Gravestone of Rev William Tate.
Chorley Unitarian Chapel. Gravestone of Rev William Tate.

An historic Chorley church has been dealt a financial blow after losing a major source of income.

Chorley Unitarian Chapel has warned members of its worrying cash situation.

The major booking for its hall– a dance school – has pulled out.

John Hewerdine, chairman of the Park Street church, said; “ We have recently lost the majority booking, for our hall, from a dancing school and our income has been dramatically affected.

“Prior to the dancing school leaving us, they only took up one of the sessions, whereas they had three or four before.

“That’s the most recent blow to our income.

“About eight months ago, a play school closed, which had been using the premises and grounds by the chapel hall which goes back a long time, about 50 years.

“We are in the process of considering a kind of collaborative joint ministry with other churches.

“It’s not definite, but we’ve been approached by other Unitarian churches in Lancashire.

“So the finances are under review at the moment and affect whether we could make a useful contribution to that.”

Treasurer Doreen Jolly had already explained that only income from organisations which use the church school keeps it afloat financially.

She warned members at the annual meeting this year: “In the last four years the chapel has made a loss in two of them. The school, however, has made a profit each year, though in 2012 the profit was lower because the playgroup closed.

“We need to look at the costs of running the chapel.

“In 2012, of the 34 services held, 14 speakers did not ask for payment, in five of the other services the collection did not cover the cost of the speaker.

“There are other costs incurred and we had a large bill in 2012 due to a water leak.

“The interest we receive from our investments is used to help us cover the costs of running the chapel, and as we know interest rates are poor so the only way we can financially maintain the chapel is to look after the finances of the school.”

She said efforts were being made to reduce energy costs, but that the chapel and school might need new heating boilers.

She added: “I’m not trying to spread gloom and doom as we can still pay our bills, but we do need to be aware that costs are rising and we will need to pay for jobs to be done rather than relying on members of the congregation.”