Two Sunderland churches up for sale for £1.2m

For sale: Two Sunderland churches, careful owner, central location, vast history, need someone to maintain and use them purposefully.

West Park and St George's churches, both in Stockton Road, have today gone on the market for 1.2million in total.

The United Reformed Church has put the listed buildings up for sale to gauge potential interest, to help decide where best to make its main spiritual home to worship and serve the city for future generations.

The church wants offers from organisations "committed to maintaining these fine and beautiful buildings, and to using them for activities of genuine benefit to Sunderland and its people".

A place for concerts or conference facilities are just two possibilities.

The churches have formed an important element of Sunderland's architectural and cultural heritage, and provided Christian witness for

more than a hundred years.

However, they may no longer be fit for purpose.

"They are 19th century buildings built for a different time, and not suitable for the 21st century," said the Reverend Peter Jordan, minister for the United Reformed Church in Sunderland.

"We cannot maintain both of them, and we need to decide whether to dispose of one or both and start again in a different place."

The churches – to be marketed by Newcastle-based agent Sanderson Weatherall – are just 200 yards apart and came together in 2008 as Stockton Road United Reformed Church.

They are also used by the West House Christian Fellowship, the Sunderland Filipino Church and the Mountain of Fire church.

Letters have been sent out to church members to explain the move and reassure them about the future.

Mr Jordan said: "At this point we are simply exploring options.

"No decisions have been made and the congregation continues in its current life and witness.

"It is our hope that, whatever decisions are made, friends of the church will feel able to continue to pray and support the church in this time of exploration and possible change."

He added: "We also hope that user groups stay with us.

"If and when a move is decided upon, we would then hope to support those current users to continue in the properties or to find other suitable homes."