VILLAGERS in Yapton and Ford have been warned their churches are running out of money, with running costs exceeding expenditure.
If the current financial state of the parish continues, centred around St Mary’s Church in Yapton, and including St Andrew’s at Ford, it could run out of money within three years.
The warning has come from Malcolm Williams, the parish’s inspector of accounts, who said: “At the moment, we are not covering our running costs of £20,000-30,000 a year.
“We are having to dip into our reserves but we can’t keep on doing that. We have started to tell everybody what the situation is. We have to raise money by whatever means.
“Everybody assumes that because the church has been there for a thousand years it will always be there and will be available to use. But they forget that money is needed to keep it going.”
Mr Williams said the fundraising programme had already begun with a free delivery of the parish’s monthly magazine in the Church Lane/Church Road area of Yapton, generating four new subscribers.
A further free distribution to about 100 homes will follow in February and other months during 2011 to spread the word about the situation.
When it became known in November that expenditure had exceeded income by £178, a parishioner sent a cheque for the deficit.
But Mr Williams said the parish needed enough money to be able to pay for major repairs as well as the ongoing costs.
The most recent survey had resulted in thousands of pounds having to be spent on replacing the shingles on the spire.
Not enough was raised in donations and the cost was met from dwindling reserves.