Sad day as Bristol church holds final service
A historic church in Bedminster Down has been forced to close due to its dwindling congregation.
The Zion Methodist Church on Bishopsworth Road held its final service on Sunday before closing its doors for good.
The size of the congregation dropped to about 30 people attending two services on a Sunday.
The current church has stood at the highest point of Bedminster Down for 118 years but the first chapel was built at the site in 1863.
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Church senior steward Dave Macnab , 79, from Bedminster Down, who attended services there for more than 60 years, said: "People don't believe in God any more, and people have stopped going to church – it is a problem we are seeing across the country. The current members at the Zion Methodist Church are getting too old and too few to fill the posts required to run it, so we are left with no alternative but to close down.
"It is sad for the people who attend services, but also for the whole community. The church is a landmark and is a symbol of stability and permanence in the neighbourhood."
He said the building, owned by the Methodist Church, woul probably be sold and could be knocked down.
In the church's final newsletter, John Aldridge, an officer at the church, wrote: "It is with the deepest regret that I sit down to draw together this, the final edition of the Zion Monthly Newsletter.
"Zion does not have the people able or willing to step forward and help to run the church and therefore closure was inevitable. The closing down procedure is now in hand."
Over the years, Bristol has seen other churches close and re-open with new, non-religious roles.
In the 1990s the Grade I-listed St Paul's Church in Portland Square was closed and became derelict before being revamped in 2005 as a base for the Circomedia circus group.
In the 1970s the Holy Trinity Church in Old Market was decommissioned and given to the Afro-Caribbean Community Association for use as a youth, community and arts centre. It is now known as the Trinity Centre.