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Warm churches: welcome in the fuel-poor?

by
22 November 2013

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From Jeanne Wesson

Sir, - Now that the cold spell has hit us, and while Parliament still debates the cost of energy, how warm are our churches - in every sense?

Has the time come for congregations to consider opening their premises for at least one extra day each week, and heating them, so that those facing hardship from heating bills can find sanctuary from feeding expensive meters at home?

Some churches already stay open in our city centres, but it is in the suburbs and rural areas where the need is greatest. In these areas, there are many without free bus travel to warmer centres: the lone parents, the unemployed, the less able elderly, and others. Men and women face being cold, spending less on food, or turning to moneylenders this winter.

Some churches are already involved with food banks and credit unions. Is this the next step: a "Warm Church" campaign?

To be able to save on heating bills for one day each week all winter will mount up to a realistic figure - a financial sacrifice that a congregation might willingly make, as it pays its own heating bill, rather than "pass by on the other side" - the cold side? - of the road.

JEANNE WESSON
11 Gordon Drive
Abingdon OX14 3SW

 

From Mr Ron Jeffries

Sir, - The idea of keeping warm in church with portable hot cushions appeals to me (News and Features, 8 November). Heating our 151-year-old church is costly and largely unsuccessful. But, for much of service time, we stand or kneel; so how would folk react to the suggestion that we sit for the entire service - with the exception of the Gospel and the Creed, of course, for there are limits.

RON JEFFRIES
37 Spearpoint Gardens, Aldborough Road North, Aldborough Hatch, Ilford, Essex IG2 7SX

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