The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is launching an appeal in order to buy a Methodist Church in Torquay, Devon.
If the appeal is successful, the Church will be the first one purchased by the order since it was established by Benedict XVI in 2011.
In a message released to potential supporters by Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate, he said: “If we are to grow and flourish in the way that Pope Benedict intended when he set up the Ordinariate, we need to acquire buildings of our own so that we can establish them as centres for our particular mission and purpose.
“The purchase of this church provides a wonderful opportunity to do just that. I warmly encourage you to help in any way you are able, to preserve this church as a place of Christian worship from where the Torbay Ordinariate Mission can reach out to the local community and minister to both its spiritual and material needs”.
Fr David Lashbrooke, a former Anglican priest, now a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate, who leads the Torbay Ordinariate Mission, is currently renting the Methodist church in Chelston but wants to buy it before it goes on the open market.
Fr Lashbrooke said that the venture is particularly exciting because the site has all the necessary space for a mission community to lead a full liturgical life as well as being able to provide teaching of the faith while reaching out to the local community.
The Methodists are asking £150,000 for the site, which, as well as the church, includes halls and a building which could be converted to become a presbytery to house an Ordinariate priest and Fr Lashbrooke has raised £36,000 so far.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Torquay church project should send a cheque made payable to Ordinariate OLW – Torbay Group to: Fr David Lashbrooke, St Agatha’s Presbytery, 27 Exeter Road, Dawlish, EX7 0BU.