STRONG support for St Andrew’s Church, Kildwick - the Lang Kirk of Craven - has been voiced by parishioners at well-attended public meetings to discuss its future.

Two meetings – including one on Halloween, Thursday, October 31, which was attended by more than 40 people – clearly laid out the current status of the church, and called for fresh community efforts to revitalise the building, which next year is due to celebrate its 700th anniversary, not just for the ever decreasing congregation.

The Rev Julie Bacon, Interim Vicar of the parish, told of “The Lang Kirk’s” 1,000 year history and its significance in the area, before explaining its current structural challenges, including roof problems, poor heating and a lack of toilets.

The meetings then opened for questions and comments, which included a supporting letter from Geraldine Sands, chairman of governors at the neighbouring Kildwick CoE VC School, which read:“We offer our prayers and best wishes for the meetings that are taking place in half term and assure you of our full support for any work that takes place to secure the future of St Andrew’s Church which is pivotal to our school, its ethos and values.”

Parishioners engaged with the issues and asked detailed questions on the cost of improvements and the vision for the church’s future.

Non-churchgoing residents were also keen to be involved in developing plans for the building, safeguarding its history and continued place in the village for further generations.

Rev Bacon said: “It was great to see nearly 100 people over the course of the two meetings turn out to express their interest in securing a sustainable future for St Andrew’s church building.

“I hope that we’ll be able to continue a creative conversation with our community about its future, as it means a lot to many people”.

The Venerable Andy Jolley, Archdeacon of Bradford, also attended the meetings to represent the Leeds Diocese. He said: “It says a lot that people from the community came out on dark nights to express heartfelt views about the church and its future.

“There was a good mix of members of the congregation and the wider community, and it was gratifying to see them continuing conversations after the meetings had ended.”

A spokesman for the Leeds Anglican Diocese said feedback from an online survey together with emailed responses would be collated to put towards a plan of action for the church.

People can still take part in an online survey at , or email: