WEYHILL’S historic church could have just one more year before its funds run out, the vicar has warned.

Rev Jill Bentall has called an emergency meeting for St Michael and All Angels, in Rectory Lane, Weyhill, after years of relying on the church’s reserves to keep it running.

She has estimated that the reserve money will be used up in the next year to 18 months.

Rev Bentall has called for parishioners to support the church – which has been in Weyhill for more than 1,000 years – or face seeing it close.

She said: “The church gives a focus and a sense of identity and a sense of security.

“It has been here for a long time.

We have had churches here for a thousand years or more and that’s something to celebrate, and whatever you think about religion, the fact that we live in a liberal democracy is not just down to the Greeks, it’s down to Christianity.”

Since Rev Bentall made a plea for parishioners to use or lose the church in the Village News, the parish council has offered to take over the maintenance of the graveyard and a volunteer has agreed to set up a 100 club, with profits going to the church.

This extra help will take some of the strain off the coffers but maintenance, bills and insurance still need to be covered for the years to come.

She has appealed for further regular financial commitments to ensure the future of the church: “As we have regular bills to pay, while we appreciate beyond belief the people who respond to gift days and help with the fete, we still have to pay the bills every month and to do that we have been using the reserves.

“What we need is people taking an active interest in coming to the church to learn more about living together with peace and good will and to give thanks to the gift of life and of heaven.

“Church is a place where you can ponder those big questions.”

Anyone who can offer any help, ideas or who would like to be part of the 100 club, can contact Rev Bentall on 01264 773554 or email j.cressy@talktalk.net or jim@jcpengineers.co.uk.

Everyone is welcome to the meeting about St Michael and All Angels Church at the Fairground Hall on Saturday, 25 January, from 10am until 11.30am.