By: Greg Heffer EXPRESS
St Peter’s Catholic church in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, has now closed its doors to the shrinking congregation following the sale.
Church leaders have reassured Christians the local parish, Cobridge, will continue to exist and money from the St Peter’s sell-off will be used to benefit parishioners.
The identity of the buyers has not been disclosed.
A spokesman for the church said: “The Archdiocese of Birmingham has over 200 parish churches and an estimated Catholic population of over 285,000.
“Any decisions taken about these churches is always done in consultation with priests, parishioners and the local community to serve the common good if all and to reflect the changing demographics and needs of the Catholic population.
“The parish of Cobridge has a long history.
“But in recent times the number of Catholics living in the area has shrunk to such an extent that those attending Mass at St Peter’s were simply no longer able to Marian a priest and the church buildings.
“The church was put up for sale on the open market.
“A modest number of offers were received and a local Muslim community made the best offer, acceptable to the diocesan trustees after consultation in other local parishes.”
Church attendance figures have seen a long decline over the past half century.
A 2007 study discovered just 15 per cent of Brits go to church at least once a month.
Other research revealed the UK has the fourth lowest rate of church attendance in Europe.