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How the cost-of-living crisis has harmed churches

Many businesses have closed down, people have lost their jobs and are struggling to maintain a constant income. Now churches are the latest group to feel the wrath of the cost-of-living crisis.

The crisis started spread quickly across the UK between 2021 and 2022 with rent, gas and water bills going up. With food shortages leading to supermarkets increasing their prices, it’s been stated on the government website that around one in six (17%) adults were somewhat worried that their food would run out before they had money to buy more.

Churches have been a safe haven for people in their respective communities, and many have used their charities and congregation to support people during these times. But some are struggling to maintain the church as whole, with some forced to close their doors.

Unfortunately two churches in Kent are already on their way to be closed and even maybe sold. St Thomas’ and St Mildred’s in Birchington are suffering due to a “significant running cost” leaving the congregation “hurt and upset” which could leave them without a home. This issue isn’t going anywhere and we could see more churches facing this harsh reality.

Leanne McKay a tour guide at St Martin’s Church, in Canterbury, has found the going tough and have had to adapt to keep their doors open.

“Yes the cost-of-living has effected our church, there’s been a huge increase in cost of heating and overall up keeping of the churchyard,” she said.

“We lucky to have not seen a decrease of members in congregation, we are a community which enjoys worshipping together and that hasn’t changed.

“Our solution to cost-of-living crisis were our private tours. St Martin’s is the oldest church in the English-speaking world and, apart of Canterbury World Heritage, we have a lot ancient artefacts so we do get a good amount of tourist who pay to see and experience what St Martin’s has to offer.”

Maintaining the church is an expensive business and  most churches rely on the offerings from their congregation to help keep the lights on, but people aren’t able to give as much during offering as everyone is trying to save money.

The current situation begs the question of what can be done to keep doors open. Donations are very useful even if it’s a small amount, reach out to family or friends who don’t go to the church but are happy to help. Events and fundraisers are always a great way to get the whole communities involved.

Some local churches in the area you can support:

Featured Image credit: Karl Fredrickson