Two Chorley churches are at the centre of merger rumours.
There are no firm proposals for St Laurence’s and St Peter’s – which are already working together – to merge.
However. rumours that it could be set to happen are circulating in the two parishes.
The rector of Chorley, Reverend Martin Cox, of St Laurence’s, said he was aware of the rumours.
He said the Church of England was having to find ways of dealing with a reduction in the number of its clergy and was facing a situation how to replace them when vacancies arose.
However he only wished to comment: “If a decision is taken with regard to a merger, both parishes will be involved in the decision making process.”
Reverend Sandra Tauson, vicar at St Peter’s, leaves the parish this Sunday.
Anne Forrest, a church warden for four years and verger form more than 13 at St Peter’s, is also about to leave, for family reasons.
She, too, said she had heard the merger rumours.
“Yes,I’ve heard the rumours,” she said.
“But I can’t say anything because there’s nothing to say.
“It’s just basically rumour at the moment, people putting two and two together and getting 10 at the moment.”
Ann added: “Since Sandra came, she’s only part-time and we’ve been working closely together with St Laurence’s.
“St Laurence’s have been doing a couple of services for us and things to help fill in.
“I’m leaving for family reasons. my husband’s not well.”
Speaking on behalf of Blackburn Diocese, Archdeacon John Hawley said: “St Laurence’s and St Peter’s have been working together with one full time priest at St Laurence’s and one half time at St Peter’s.
“The half-time vicar is about to leave St Peter’s.
“Therefore, I will be talking to the clergy and PCCs there and the Area Dean to work out the best way forward.
“What that is to be is unknown at the present time.”
St Laurence’s Church is probably the oldest building in Chorley and has played a central role in the history of its local community.
The church has strong links with the United States of America, too, through the Standish family’s connections with the Pilgrim Fathers.
St Peter’s Church was built in 1850/51 to meet an increasing demand for a church on the north eastern side of Chorley.