St Mary’s church in Overton Drive, probably the most admired building in Wanstead, faces an uncertain future as the church community which worships there considers how the building should be looked after.
The Grade 1 listed church, which is part of the Parish of Wanstead, faces high maintenance costs – estimated at £150,000 – and so is discussing three options for its future. One is to hand the building over to a charitable trust; a second is to sell the building to another Christian denomination; and a third is to hand the building over to a churches’ conservation charity. All three options would mean the end of weekly Anglican worship at the site which has been going on for more than 800 years, though services could be held a number of times each year.
An additional problem has been caused by changes to the way the Heritage Lottery Fund gives grants to places to worship, which have made it harder to get backing.
An estimated 30 people worship at the church each Sunday, with a further 200 meeting at Christ Church on the High Street.
The consultation is, however, open to other ideas for the building’s future. And naturally anyone with a passion for the building who has deep pockets would be welcome to come forward. The church can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.