December 14, 2010

Churches to become ‘corner shops’


by Jan Harris

Rural communities used to be able to rely on the corner shop and the post office to meet their basic needs and the demise of these two services in many areas has been a problem for many elderly and less mobile residents.

However these services could now be filled by the local church under plans to open stores in church buildings in rural and deprived urban areas.

The Church of England decided to provide post offices in churches after the then Labour government announced plans in 2007 to close 2,500 post offices.

Now the Church of England is issuing guidance on how naves and vestries can be turned into ‘corner shops’, and may even provide cash machines, dry cleaning, and pharmacy services.

As well as providing a vital service to the local community and fulfilling the Church’s duty to serve the local parish, the move has the added advantage of attracting more people into church, even if it is only to buy a loaf of bread.

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