Life after redundancy

02 November 2006

IT IS nearly 20 years since St Peter’s, Offord D’Arcy, in Ely diocese, was made redundant.

The church was at the end of a long lane, the roof was in such a poor way that people took umbrellas to services, the heating was non-existent, and the congregation was defecting to the church in Offord Cluny.

Then the Redundant Churches Fund (now the Churches Conservation Trust) took it over, made the structure sound (but removed the electricity supply), and agreed it should still be used for limited and occasional services.

But it regained more life than that. Summer services, when heating was not important, were soon held monthly. Permission was given for a series of productions, including The Pied Piper of Hamelin and The Wind in the Willows.

The Christmas carol service became a regular event, necessarily lit by candles. Then, last year, a group organised a three-day arts festival, which will be repeated in April. “St Peter’s is well worth a visit,” says Delia Murren, one of the lay people keeping it alive, “and the key is held at the former rectory next door.”

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