While church attendances in general may be in decline the Romanian Orthodox Church in Merseyside has had to buy a second church to keep up with demand. Tony McDonough reports
Christian church attendance may be in long-term decline across the UK but the Romanian Orthodox Church in Merseyside is booming.
It opened its first church in Bebington in Wirral in 2015 but space at the former burial chapel is limited so the church has now acquired a second site in Bootle.
Acting on behalf of the church, lawyers in the commercial property team at Liverpool law firm Jackson Lees have secured a long lease on the Holy Spirit Church on Poulsom Drive. This was formerly a Catholic Church which closed more than four years ago.
The Romanian Orthodox Church in Merseyside is a registered charity and receives around 60 people at its services on the Wirral each week. This new Bootle site will enable it to receive up to 200 people.
Secretary and treasurer of the church is Dr Stuart Carter, who is emeritus professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Liverpool.
He said: “We’re delighted to be able to secure this site and look forward to being able to welcome more and more people to services led by Father Florin Voinea.
“We hope after some small renovations that the church will be open and able to welcome people into our congregation early in the new year.”
Dr Carter runs the church with a board of trustees, including his Romanian-born wife, Dorina, a senior lecturer in veterinary clinical microbiology at the University of Liverpool.
The couple met as part of an EU academic exchange programme 20 years ago. They are joined on the church’s charitable board by four other trustees and have around 35 volunteers.
Its aim is to provide regular free church services in the orthodox Christian faith, with services open to all the public.
Rebecca Emmitt, a commercial property solicitor at Jackson Lees, says: “They have been a pleasure to act for and it is brilliant to see an unused building being brought back to life and contribute to the local community.”