From J. Smith, Bonchurch:
Bonchurch PCC's decision to sell the village hall and school house is much regretted.
This decision has caused much distress, especially to the family who had lived in the cottage for around 15 years.
It was stated (CP, 22-06-12) the family were now rehoused in Ventnor and it implied that all was well. The fact is, the accommodation the family now find themselves, can, in no way be described as a home for a family of three adults
This family has always served the church loyally, until illness made it impossible, although one member does still conscientiously serve the church regularly, showing Christian values sadly lacking in the church family.
Although I do understand the financial situation is difficult for the PCC, it is the same for most churches and I do feel that other options should have been tried, before deciding to sell what is Bonchurch's heritage, the hall being the village school originally and the cottage was the school house.
Why was an appeal not launched — the old church is loved by locals and tourists alike and I do feel that an appeal would be supported, after all, not very long ago, an appeal was very successful to repair the church bell.
The events held to raise funds in the village hall were always well supported and I was pleased to be involved in these events which raised thousands of pounds. Now all that has stopped, why not use another venue so that funds could still be raised. If the buildings do sell, there is no guarantee that funds will be available from English Heritage, what then?
I am so disillusioned at the way the church has handled this problem, more care and consideration could have been shown to all who would be affected by the sale, especially by church members, and I can no longer attend or support St Boniface Church. It was a hard decision after 31 years being loyal to St. Boniface, but I do feel that the church's image has been damaged, by what many people feel, is unchristian decisions. This will not encourage new members to join the congregation which is exactly what they hope will happen.
Finally, I do applaud the rescue group's attempt to find a solution to this sad state of affairs, even though unsuccessful, at least they did try and I appreciate that.