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Grade I listed Stoke Newington church St Matthias is under threat of closure and needs to raise £30,000

PUBLISHED: 08:55 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:42 19 June 2019

A file image of St Matthias Church in Wordsworth Road, Stoke Newington. Picture: John Salmon/Geograph (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A file image of St Matthias Church in Wordsworth Road, Stoke Newington. Picture: John Salmon/Geograph (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Archant

Stoke Newington's only Grade I listed church could be forced to close after 170 years unless £30,000 can be raised to pay for urgent electrical works.

St Matthias Church in Wordsworth Road, Stoke Newington, has not had a makeover since the 1950s, when it was rebuilt after being bombed in the Second World War.

But last year it had its wiring condemned, and leaders were told the cost of the major works programme would be an eye-watering £110,000.

Parish priest Fr David Lambert has managed to raise £80,000 already through fundraising drives and successful grant applications, but the church still has some way to go to guarantee its future.

"We are under threat of having to close," he told the Gazette. "If we didn't raise the money we would have to shut the church and move into the church hall instead.

"But if we get this money we are getting a new rewired and revamped dazzling church."

Fr David said if the money is secured the aim is to take advantage of the excellent acoustics in the church and hold concerts there.

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As it stands it is only open at the weekend but the plan is to open up the church for community use during the week.

The church needs to raise the remaining cash by the end of August.

To help it on its way a summer festival is taking place on July 5 and 6.

Stokebourne, as it is called, will take place on St Matthias vicarage green and will feature music, poetry and dancing. It will be opened by Stokey performer John Hegley and the congregation will be cooking a Caribbean barbecue.

Stokebourne is the brainchild of local financial adviser Ruth Whitehead, whose company sponsors a number of local arts initiatives and who founded community choir Chorus of Dissent and orchestra the Elastic Band.

She said: "St Matthias Church is a magnificent building with a wonderful acoustic which deserves to be used and enjoyed more by the local community. Raising money to make sure it stays open is the least we can do."

Tickets for Stokebourne cost £15 and can be bought at eventbrite.com.

If the fundraiser is successful any extra cash raised will go towards plans to fix the roof of the church.

To donate to the church, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stmatthiasn16.

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