CHRISTIANS who made donations for a church to be built on the Monkspath estate in Solihull are being invited to claim the money back after the scheme was abandoned.
The project goes back about 15 years when land on the corner of Shelly Crescent and Farmhouse Way was earmarked for an ecumenical place of worship, to be known as Trinity Monkspath Church, for Anglicans, Methodists and Baptists.
The site was bought by the Methodist Church from Solihull Council and an appeal made for funds for the £400,000 needed for the scheme. But the Anglicans pulled out and the target funding figure was never reached.
Now an advertisement has been placed in local newspapers advising donors they are entitled to claim back the money if they wish to within three months. Alternatively, donors can sign a disclaimer and opt for the cash to go to a similar charitable purpose.
Superintendent Methodist minister, Rev Peter Bates said yesterday the Church had the names and addresses of many people who had given money for the Monkspath project but was obliged by law to advertise the claim-back arrangements.
He added that the ecumenical church had been proposed at a time when the Monkspath estate was still growing and there was no place of worship there.
“The council wanted a church to be built on the site and was happy for this to go ahead. There was a time limit from when the land was purchased to when the church had to be built.
“Although the council extended the time limit, unfortunately not enough funds were raised to build the church and the land was sold back to the council.
“People were upset that Trinity Monkspath Church couldn’t go ahead, but there is hope that at some stage in the future there will be a church presence in the area. The Methodist Church is working with the Charity Commission in this process.”
Rev Bates said Methodists were able to worship locally, with services being held each Sunday at Monkspath Junior & Infant School. Previously, they were held in a wooden shed in Hay Lane.
“We get congregations of between 20 and 30 but they would probably be larger if we had a church locally,” he said.