On Saturday, 26th June, 2021, we held an “Open Gardens” event in the village. We usually hold this every second year. An "Open Gardens" WebSite has an entry for our village here.
Our event is to raise money for St. Andrew’s Church, Okeford Fitzpaine. It is the major fund-raising event..
Whether you go to Church regularly or not, and leaving religion aside completely, the Church is a village asset and is part of the historic image that we buy into when we move to this village. All too often, the only times some people go to Church are for baptisms, weddings and funerals; but the Church (and churchyard) does need maintenance, repairs, re-decoration and up-dating, and none of those come cheap.
It costs us about £20,000 a year to keep our Church open.
The Church belongs to the village, and it has to be supported by the village. It gets no funding from anywhere else. Rather the reverse ! For we also have to pay towards the Diocese, e.g. the buildings and staff of Salisbury Cathedral, etc.. The church is currently funded by private subscriptions from a small core of people and by interest from one or two past legacies. This funding is never sufficient and we are consistently in debt to the diocese.
For our village of some 800 people, the Church IS a community centre. It is open every day as a place to get away from it all in peace and quiet. After Services on a Sunday, there is coffee & biscuits, and chat with other villagers, and occasional visitors. There is also Morning and Evening prayers every Thursday.
If the Church lacks support it may have to be closed, and we lose this asset. It then might be sold, to be converted into a private house. Or a mosque.
That is why this Open Gardens event is in support of the Church, and why it is so important to the village.
For more about the event, click here.