EARLIER this week we covered the story of a split at St Peter’s Church, Halliwell over a controversial proposal to build a £435,000 extension for a cafe. Here is what our readers had to say:

THE money should not be spent on something that is not needed. The talk of facilities and a fully equipped kitchen nearby to fulfil the needs required makes sense.

I attend a church myself in Halliwell, which in the past was filled with locals, now only hosts a handful of us, mostly elderly worshippers. Yet the building and organ still need to be maintained. This is the problem facing many churches.

Without people regularly attending church, and contributing to the upkeep through collection, I fear we will lose them to other groups of people who it seems are much more religious than Christians. Not wishing to offend here, or come across as racist in any way, just stating things as I observe them.

I think the decline in church-going has a lot to do with the decline in standards and morals in life today. I feel better for attending church. I feel the messages from long ago are still relevant today, and can help us get through troubled times we face now, and help bring us all together.

I try to look for things that the different faiths in Bolton have in common, rather than things that set us apart. We all have the same basic needs and goals, and responsibilities, and I find a smile often is a good start.

What I think 222

THAT attitude is fine, but, if it's got a diminishing congregation then that attitude (head in the sand) will only lead to closure and the church either being demolished or made into flats. The church has to think up different ways to raise money and stay alive. Perhaps it should offer to look after children whilst parents are working, offer creche. Other than that it's a cafe and community centre.


THE Church of England either needs to attract the younger generation or it will face obsolescence in the next generation or two.

Maybe they should look at how the churches are set up across America. I've lived in Northern California for the last 19 years and while I don't attend church there, my wife does. I've been once or twice and they definitely have a more family oriented vibe and they never seem short of cash either.

They definitely seem to be revenue centres that have money to build new facilities on a fairly regular basis. They recently opened a new 22 acre campus with a main hall that seats 2,000 and features the latest audio/visual equipment — and yes, it's nearly full every service.


THAT'S the nub of it. We can learn from the Americans here, as much as it sticks in the craw, and drag Christianity kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

I live near Kings Church in Breightmet which is so busy they even have parking marshals on on a Sunday. They go out in the community and hand out Easter eggs to neighbours regardless of their faith. Meanwhile, 200 yards down the road, the old Methodist church, a beautiful early 19th century building, was pulled down due to dwindling congregation and high running costs. You have Bolton Christian worship in a microcosm there. No good whining about mosques. They are well used and self financing for the most part. Churches such as Kings show there is a place for worship in everyday life. The issue is the rifts in ourselves. The Catholics are right. The Protestants are right. Even the Protestants and all their different dissenters can't agree though. Move with the times. It can and is being done, just need to embrace it.


THE area around the church is a really nice part of Bolton, but not sure it needs another place for people to have coffee. If the money is burning a hole in their pocket, then I'm sure there are plenty of charities in Bolton could do with the money. That said, churches are notoriously expensive to maintain so they might be better keeping hold of it.


I QUITE like the idea of a cafe in the church, it's a nice setting and something no other cafe can offer. The profits can be used to help those in need - win win!


MAYBE profits from the cafe could help the poor or maybe a soup kitchen at night?