A MINISTER forced to leave his parish because the church can no longer afford to employ him has carried out his last service.
The congregation at Hope Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, bid farewell to the Rev Marcus Bull on Easter Sunday. He had been minister there since 2008.
Mr Bull said he was lucky he had a teaching career to fall back on but it was sad for the congregation that they would no longer have a full-time minister.
The Courier previously reported that the £1 million community hub – The John Fawcett Centre – will also have to be scaled back due to government spending cuts.
A £138,000 grant from English Heritage to fix the leaking roof will remain in place. Mr Bull told the Courier: “The credit crunch has affected all of us, including the church.
“Even with a substantial grant from the Baptist denomination, the members of Hope Baptist Church are no longer able to pay a minister.
“I’m lucky I’ve got a teaching career I can fall back on, but it’s sad for the church. All of our futures are in the air.
“The congregation are devastated it has to come to this.”
Mr Bull brought Celtic-style reflective services along with the traditional Sunday morning services as well as helping to set up Hebden Bridge Street Angels.
Future plans to develop the John Fawcett Centre will still go ahead but the details are not yet known.
The scheme involves developing a social housing area and community garden but it all depends on the sale of the historic 19th-century church manse.