IN recent days the campaign to save and re-open the Grade II listed St. John's Church at Kates Hill in Dudley has received a tremendous boost.
The London based Church commissioners, acting on the recommendations of officials at the Diocese of Worcester, prepared a draft Pastoral Church Buildings Scheme which would see the church building closed and the St. John's Church Preservation Group become leaseholders. But a month long public consultation had to be adhered to before final decisions could be made.
During the last month 185 letters or emails have been received in support of the proposal to hand over the keys and save the future of the church building, some from as far away as Australia and the US, and Katie Lowe, Pastoral Case Officer at the Church Commissioners said the number was unusually high.
Deb Brownlee, chair of the Preservation Group, told us, "The last month has been nail-biting as any objections could have caused significant delays, and we thank everyone who has supported us with letters and emails. Together the incredible and loyal supporters of St. John's have done what was needed and we can now move on in the re-opening process. The Diocese of Worcester will now prepare a draft lease, which once agreed by us will go to the Church Commissioners for final approval."
Professor Carl Chinn, patron of the Preservation Group, expressed his delight at the situation. "The church building is a vital element in both the local history of Dudley and the Black Country, and I believe the group will be able to bring it back to life for the well-being of both the local and wider communities."