A BASINGSTOKE methodist church which has been serving the community for more than 100 years has closed its building's doors permanently after moving its services online.

Kempshott Methodist Church originally opened in the town in December 1912. 

Flash forward 50 years to the expansion of Kempshott in the 1960s and the church was too small for a growing congregation, so a new church was built behind the original, and 10 years later that was again expanded with an all-purpose hall, used by many organisations as well as church services. 

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When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, lockdown meant the building had to close and services were instead held on Zoom.   

Now, the church has decided to close the building and hold its services online permanently. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Church of the Living StreamChurch of the Living Stream (Image: Church of the Living Stream, Canva)

The church also changed its name from Kempshott Methodist Church to 'The Church of the Living Stream' in a bid to reach a wider audience. Services can be viewed on the church's website, and also on Facebook and Youtube.

A spokesperson for Church of the Living Stream was positive about the change and said: "Because we use the Zoom free allocation, services are crisp, no more than about 30 minutes, but interactive.  It is not passive streaming and everyone can see, hear and talk to everyone else. 

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"Sunday services are led by a minister or local preacher, and on Wednesdays, we have a fellowship group which is more relaxed and centred on hymns or poems circulated in advance by e-mail. 

"We get people joining from different parts of the UK and also from overseas.  Everyone is welcome, especially folk who can’t get to church for any reason or who might feel uncomfortable about going into a church building. 

"The Zoom links are shown on the website but they are the same for everything and 10.30am is the start time. We do meet in the flesh once a month for Holy Communion in the home of one of our members."

The church building is currently being used by the Meraki dance school which has been displaced from Westside in South Ham due to the RAAC problems, with the building to go on the market very shortly.

More information can be found at churchlivingstream.co.uk.