A VILLAGE church near Ludlow is facing an uncertain future.

Since its consecration by the Bishop of Hereford on January 29, 1840, St Paul’s church has ministered to the population of Knowbury and the surrounding area.

Often known as the Colliers church, it was built to satisfy the needs of a burgeoning population of workers coming to mine iron ore, quarry limestone, and mine coal as manning the blast furnace, iron works and brick and tile works.

Sadly, in recent years support for the church has dwindled. The congregation is elderly and it has proved difficult to attract younger churchgoers.

The remaining churchwarden stepped down at this year’s annual parish meeting and the church has been unable to find a replacement.

Therefore, it is hosting a public consultation at 10.30am on Saturday, September 7, in Knowbury Memorial Hall.

In attendance will be Tim Bridges, diocesan buildings advisor and Rev Lynn Money, rector of the Ashfords benefice.

People with an interest in helping to secure the future of the church are being urged to attend.

Nonetheless St Paul’s is holding its harvest festival service in Knowbury Memorial Hall at 11.30an on Sunday, September 8, followed by a harvest lunch at 12.30pm.

Tickets cost £7.50 per adult and £5 for children aged 5 – 12

It will also be holding the usual autumn rummage sale at 2pm on Saturday, September 14, in the Memorial Hall with a large range of used clothing, household goods, children’s toys, books and sundries as well as a cake stall, draw and refreshments.

Many churches are suffering from dwindling congregations and the increasing cost of maintaining old buildings.

Ideas to help the situation include making the buildings more flexible and get them used by community groups and for events such as music and exhibitions.