FOUR village churches in the region are costing almost £73,500 a year to maintain, according to recent financial report.
Those at Ashover, Wessington, Brackenfield and Handley are forking out thousands each year on the diocesan quota, power, water costs and insurance, among other costs.
Ashover pays out the lion’s share- £31,742- which equates to £832 a week, with the others pay out between £5,664 and £6,726 each year.
The congregations of each church, which are collectively known as Ashover mission and ministry area, is helping to cover the costs but Ashover’s retiring church treasurer, Peter Lord, admits it could take a special fundraising effort to bridge the gap should any costly repairs crop up.
He said: “All our churches just about balance the books but special fund-raising will certainly be necessary in the event of expensive repairs or the replacement of items like heating systems.”
He says area has been fortunate in that the diocese has not raised its quota for the past two years, partly because there are fewer priests in training and there is a greater reliance on retired priests and readers to take services rather than clergy with a stipend.
Although Ashover faces the biggest costs, he says it is better placed to attract more investment and can host more income-generating events compared to the three smaller churches.