Church Making Extra Room to Welcome Even More Disciples; CONGREGATIONISGETTINGSO BIGNEWpounds 2.5MSITEISPLANNED
Byline: RACHAEL MISSTEAR
AS DWINDLING congregations are forcing some rural churches to close, oneWestWales church is bucking the trend and hoping to double in size.
The Calvary Pentecostal Church in Haverfordwest has been so successful in attracting newcomers it has outgrown its 200 capacity church in Trafalgar Road. Church officials have now lodged plans with Pembrokeshire council for a new pounds 2.5m building at land it owns at nearby Withybush.
"A growing congregation means we no longer have enough space in our present church," said Calvary's pastor, the Rev Adrian Vaughan.
"It was built in 1973 and has played amajor role in promoting multiracial linksamongthe area's immigrant population. We are greatly encouraged by and appreciative of the local supportwe have received for the new church, which has also come from many churches and chapels of all denominations acrossPembrokeshire and includes the local Muslim community."
Latest figures, compiled from analysis of membership of Christian faith bodies have revealed the numbers attending church on a monthly basis are continuing to fall. The decline is particularly acute among Methodists and Presbyterians. Home Office statistics show that 74% of people in Wales are Christians but that only 7% of those attend church.
The Rev Aled Edwards, chief executive of Cytun, Churches Together inWales, said although many churches are suffering dwindling numbers, there is in fact a mixed picture across Wales.
"While many churches are seeing falling numbers in their congregations, it is not uncommonto see others that are growing quickly," he said.
"Some, like the Catholic communities, for example, are seeing a massive new interest and that has been very much on the back of migration - with the Filipino and Polish communities boosting attendances. What is also interesting is that the Welsh-speaking churches in Cardiff have also seen a growth in their congregations "The Pentecostal Church is not one of our members but obviously we wish them well, as with many rural communities and population changes, congregation numbers often suffer. …