Falling congregation numbers is leading to an accelerating decline in church attendance.

To gain a better understanding of the issue, the Church in Wales is urging people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved and have their say in shaping the future of rural churches in their communities.

Consultations by the Diocese of St Asaph, which includes the Caereinion area, will be held throughout March and April. There will be opportunities to respond online too.

Churches in the Caereinion area and communities include Garthbeibio, Llangadfan, Llanerfyl, Llanllugan, Llanfair Caereinion, Manafon, Llangynyw, Meifod, Pontrobert and Dolanog.

County Times:

A small group met last Autumn at St Cynyw, Llangynyw to pray about the needs of their rural community. (Church in Wales)

Archdeacon of Montgomery, the Venerable Dr Barry Wilson, said: “Rural churches across the diocese want to be open, welcoming, inclusive and relevant places, supporting their community and offering a spiritual space to local people and visitors.

“In recent years there have been concerns. Congregations worry about their rising age profiles, the difficulty in attracting new members, especially younger families, the cost of keeping ancient buildings in good repair and funding the provision of clergy.

“As part of the consultation, we’ll be looking to speak to as many people as possible in rural communities to understand how the church can better engage with people and communities, and share the Christian faith more widely, especially with young children and families, the farming community and those living isolated lives.”

“There are already examples of really good practice going on in our churches, many of which are still the hub of their local community but this consultation will identify how we can do better, how we can address some of the worries of the congregations and meet the needs of the whole community.”

Consultations will be held in rural communities throughout March and April and there will be opportunities to respond online too.

Barry added: “Please get involved and have your say in shaping the church in rural communities for the future.”