Historic South Shields church building is to close after more than 100 years

A historical Presbyterian church building in South Shields is set to close after more than 100 years.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 11:45 am
St Paul & St John's United Reformed Church is closing after 100 years. Rev Helen Drummond

St Paul and St John’s United Reformed Church in Beach Road, South Shields, which was built in 1876, will hold its final service on Sunday, September 29.

Formerly known as St John's Presbyterian Church, it was renamed in 1968 when the congregation united with St Paul's Presbyterian Church and became a United Reformed Church in 1972.

Numbers of worshippers have been decreasing over the years and the congregation is no longer able to maintain the large building, which is now used only once a week.

St Paul & St John's United Reformed Church is closing after 100 years. Rev Helen Drummond

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The congregation will move to the Church Centre, located behind the original church on Broughton Road.

The building itself, which is owned by Northern Synod, is expected to be sold.

“We have been worshipping in the church centre for several years over the winter anyway and have tried various different things to see if we could change things, but have decided that this is going to be the right way forward,” said Rev Helen Drummond, who has been with the congregation since 2013.

She continued: “We’re getting older and smaller and this seemed to be a better way of doing things.

St Paul & St John's United Reformed Church is closing after 100 years.

“A number of community groups are based at the Church Centre so this will give us the opportunity to connect with others.”

A service will be held on Saturday, September 28 at 2pm to celebrate the life, work and witness of the church building, which the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside will attend.

Rev Drummond added: “Some people have been coming to the church building for many years.

“There is a lot of history of people being married here, funerals and baptisms, so people are sad about the fact we are leaving, but positive that we’re moving forward.”

St Paul & St John's United Reformed Church is closing after 100 years. Rev Helen Drummond

Chair of trustees at Northern Synod, David Grosch-Miller, commented: “Sadly the building is no longer suitable to the local congregation, as they cannot maintain it.

“They made the decision that they wanted the trustees to sell and we are in the process of arranging the sale of the building.

“We will look to try and do this in a way which will preserve the building.”

Rev Helen Drummond outside St Paul & St John's church centre following the closure of the Church.