TWO small village churches are coming together in a merger that will see members of two denominations worshipping together.

All Saints Anglican Church and the Methodist chapel in Storth are to join together as one church.

On Sunday, April 30, a closing service will be held at All Saints at 3pm, marking the closure of the building and giving thanks for its witness to the village over the years. The congregation will then process to the Methodist chapel where there will be refreshments and a formal launch of the new Storth Village Church.

In fact, the members of the two congregations have already begun to worship together.

The vicar of Arnside with All Saints, Storth, the Rev David Cooper, said: "In quite a small village, there were two small churches worshipping separately and over the years the churches have become more aged, and it's difficult to look after two separate buildings.

"In people's minds, to think of a single church - rather than two churches - with a single set of service times would be better for people to think about coming to church.

"The unity will be greater than the sum of the parts, as two small struggling churches become one more viable church."

Mr Cooper said All Saints was not actually a consecrated church, but was what was known as a chapel of ease. It was a small building that had previously had other uses and had been converted into a church in 1933. The building was likely to be sold, he said.

The Methodist Minister for Arnside and Storth, Bill Seville, said the merger was the way ahead for the future of many small village churches.

The Methodist church in the village had actually been growing, he said, and there was an average of 20 worshippers.

Communication officer Chris Ruxton said the merger was also an occasion to say a fond farewell to Audrey Rawlins, a much-valued and respected secretary and treasurer of All Saints, who now lived out of the area.