Villagers in Yapton and Ford have been warned their churches are running out of money.
The continuation of the current financial state of the parish centred around St Mary’s Church in Yapton will see it broke within three years.
Two months ago the parish’s spending on St Mary’s and St Andrew’s at Ford exceeded its income by £177 before a donor enabled the books to balance.
Malcolm Williams, the parish’s inspector of accounts, said: “At the moment, we are not covering our running costs of £20,000 to £30,000 a year.
“We are having to dip into our reserves, but we can’t keep on doing that. We have started to tell everybody what the situation is. We have to raise money by whatever means.
“Everybody assumes because the church has been there for 1,000 years it will always be there and will be available to use. But they forget money is needed to keep it going.”
Mr Williams said the fundraising programme had started with a free delivery of the parish’s monthly magazine in the Church Lane/Church Road area of Yapton.
This had generated four new subscribers.
A further free distribution to about 100 homes will follow in February and other months during 2011 to spread the word about the situation.
“Praying gives us the strength to tackle the problems, but God gave us brains and muscles to work out the solutions and implement them.
“We need to look at ways of increasing our ongoing income,” said Mr Williams. “It’s no good relying on one-off events.
“Our Christmas fair failed to produce the profit we expected. I think the bad weather put people off going out. They are looking for excuses to stay in rather than get out.
“I also think people are so worried their money is going to disappear. When times are uncertain, like they are now, they keep their hands in their pockets.”
But one worshipper proved the exception when the results of November’s general fund account were known.
This showed income at £3,044 failing to meet expenditure of £3,221.
The day after that was publicised a cheque for the deficit arrived at the parish office.
But Mr Williams said the parish needed enough money to be able to pay for major repairs as well as the ongoing costs.
The quinquennial survey of the buildings every five years always highlighted work which had to be carried out.
The most recent resulted in thousands of pounds having to be spent on replacing the shingles on the spire. Not enough was raised in donations and so the cost had to be covered by dipping into the dwindling reserves.
“The work had been done,” Mr Williams said. “The roof was leaking and the shingles were starting to fall off.”