PEOPLE in Kildwick have been asked to act now to prevent the possible closure of the village’s St Andrew’s Church - the ‘Lang Kirk’ of Craven.

There has been a church at the site for more than 1,000 years, and next year, the present building is due to mark its 700th anniversary, but similar to so many others, it has seen a fall in the number of people attending services.

It is currently only open for worship on Sundays, and for other occasional services.

No major work has taken place for 100 years, and in a heart-felt letter to parishioners, interim vicar, the Rev Julie Bacon, says that must change, if the church is to survive and to flourish, like it has done in the past.

"Our worshipping congregation is now fairly small and ageing, with regular Sunday attendance numbering 30 to 40 people.

"On their own, they are unable to meet the costs and demands of caring for and maintaining the building. If they are required to continue to shoulder this responsibility alone, there is the very real possibility that it could close within a few years," she writes.

In her letter, Rev Bacon asks people, whether they are members of the church or whether they just work or live in the village, what the church building means to them, and how they can become involved to secure its future.

The building is not just for the small congregation, and greater numbers often attend life events, such as baptisms, weddings and funerals.

"Kildwick Primary School holds services in church every half-term, which are attended by parents, grandparents and carers alongside children and staff.

"There are special services around Christmas and in Holy Week. We also welcome a steady trickle of visitors - many travelling on the neighbouring Leeds and Liverpool canal- who want to explore the historical and spiritual significance of Kildwick church," says Rev Bacon.

And, she says it the building is to have a sustainable future,it will involve offering welcome and hospitality to villagers, as well as visitors and tourists.

"We aspire to have our beautiful building open daily and presented to show off its assets as well as possible, so that anyone who wishes to can avail themselves of the opportunity to enjoy its history, tranquillity and peace," she says.

But, in order for that to happen, there are 'serious deficiencies which need to be tackled, including access for those with mobility issues, and the fact the church currently lacks toilets or basic catering facilities.

An inadequate Victorian heating system in the building means the church for most of the year is 'off-puttingly cold'.

There are also concerns about the church roof, which last had major work about a century ago.

Rev Bacon says addressing these deficiencies will cost money, and so the church will have to apply for grants, as well as raising funds itself.

"Both aspects require involvement, support and participation from the wider community," she says.

It is planned to gather all ideas and comments by the middle of November for a working group looking at the church's future.

Public meetings will take place at St Andrew’s on Tuesday, October 29, and on Thursday, October 31 at 7.30pm to 9pm. People can also email to:, or complete an online survey at: