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Increasing electricity bills force Brighton church to decide against heaters

One of the grade one churches in Sussex Catholic Heritage of England is enduring the effects of inflation.

The parish finance committee of St Joseph, Elm Grove, decided not to heat the church premises during the service because of the increasing electricity bill and inflation from April 2022.

Weekday services in the parish were cancelled because it was cold in the nave.

St Joseph Church, Elm Grove is one of the beautiful churches in Surrey and Sussex is expensive to maintain, and its roof is too high; the heating procedure was both time and energy-intensive.

Tad Matus, 71, who sits as finance chair of the parish, St Joseph’s Church, Elm Grove said: “A benefit of being in a diocese with other catholic churches is that we get fixed rates from the council for electricity bills based on our contract.

“But the electricity and gas prices went through the roofs from April 2022.

“Previously, it cost £3000 a month, but now the price has gone up three times from the normal rate, which is unaffordable”.

In 2023, finance committee members and the congregation decided not to turn on the radiator. However, they thought it would be unkind as many older people and children attended the holy mass.

Nick Ianos, 72, a finance committee member in St Joseph’s Church, Elm Grove, said: “The church is supposed to be preheated six hours before the mass.

“But with the current situation, it can only be done for two hours prior, which makes no difference, especially with the high roof”.

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May 2024