A 140-YEAR-OLD church in Bewdley needs £100,000 to mend a damaged ceiling before it can reopen for weddings and funerals.

More than two thirds of All Saints' Church in Wribbenhall is cordoned off as a safety precaution after plaster fell and a crack appeared in the ceiling above the pews.

Church warden Olwen Jahoor said: "There was a bad storm a couple of years ago which caused some plaster to fall out and leave cracks, so that's when we put some netting up.

"Then we had a visit from the Diocese architect in October who said there was a possibility of more falls above the central and side aisle so we had to cordon it off. Now it's only the area under the netting we can use.

"It's a shame as some of the most beautiful parts of the building are now hidden away, including several stained glass windows."

Kidderminster Shuttle:

The cordon means All Saints' can only hold small baptism services and community group events, but cannot host weddings and funerals until the ceiling is fixed.

The church committee will need to raise £100,000 to repair the Grade II listed building - most of which will be spent on scaffolding - or risk the church being closed entirely.

Olwen added: "I really don't know what will happen if we can't get the money together.

"We had to apply for permission to put up the netting and there's a time limit on it, so if we haven't done the work by that time I've got a horrible feeling the church would have to close."

As well as donations, the church committee is asking for ideas on how to better utilise the building as a community space.

"We want people to know that the church isn't closed and that there are still things going on," said Olwen. "We have a knit and natter group every Monday and a book sale once a month.

"Behind the scenes we've got someone applying for charity grants, but to do that we need to know what the people of Wribbenhall want from the church once it's open."

Kidderminster Shuttle:

Archdeacon of Dudley, Nikki Groarke, added: "We want to see the church used by the whole community and repairing the ceiling is one of several large projects which we will need to undertake to ensure the building is fit for purpose.

"It would be great for the community to be involved in helping All Saints'. We want to see it fully open and welcoming as many people as possible for worship and community events.”

The church will be hosting a plant and book sale on May 4 to raise money for the ceiling appeal, with more fundraising events to follow later in the year.

To find out more about supporting the church, email rector@bewdleyparish.org.uk.