Historic South Shields Westoe Methodist Church to close its doors after more than 100 years of serving the community
A historic South Shields church which has served the community for more than 100 years is set to permanently close its doors.
Church leaders said dwindling numbers, an ageing congregation and issues with the church building had led to the tough decision.
Westoe Methodist first opened for worship 116 years ago in 1906. It will close for the last time after holding a final service on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022.
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Reverend Deborah Wainwright said since reopening after the Covid-19 lockdown, the church has had issues with low numbers attending services and an ageing congregation, meaning it is no longer sustainable to remain open.
Deborah, who has been Minister at Westoe Methodist Church since 2017, said: “I can’t put into words how much of a loss the church will be to the community.
"The church is funded by people who attend but over time this number has dwindled.”
She said during their final service on Easter Sunday, the church will be celebrating all that it has offered to the community over its 116 years.
Deborah added: “We want to have a celebration of the church and we’re hoping to celebrate everything Westoe offers to the community.
"There’s been lots of good work to come out of the church as well as lots of worship and faithful people. We want to celebrate the life of the church.”
The church is one of the best-known places of worship in South Tyneside, with its decorative brick-built Gothic features facing out towards a busy spot on Mortimer Road.
The building has hosted many special services and events over the years.
Generations of South Tynesiders will have fond memories of attending the church’s popular Christingle services on Christmas Eve.
The building has also hosted countless charity events, including fundraisers for good causes such as Save the Children.
The Bede Methodist circuit website describes Westoe Methodist Church as ‘a very beautiful, traditional church with a range of activities to cover all ages’.
No decisions have yet been made on the future of the church building itself.