A LATE bid to save the historic St John's Church, Accrington, appears to have failed.
The Parochial Church Council this week held what was described as a "very heated" debate in which some members attempted to reverse the decision to permanently close the church which also houses the Accrington Pals Memorial Chapel.
But the vicar, the Rev Ian Robertson, closed the meeting when time ran out at 10pm with nothing decided.
The PCC, the church's ruling body, will not meet again until 5 September.
The church was closed after the discovery of electrical defects which would have cost £20,000 to repair.
But in a letter to the Observer last week the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev John Goddard, said the true cost needed to give the church a new lease of life would be £300,000.
One member of the PCC, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The meeting was conducted in an atmosphere of disquiet and unhappiness with feelings running very high.
"Many of us wanted to have a go at a fund-raising campaign involving the wider community.
"But the PCC was divided and we were in the minority."
It is understood that members of St John's "twin church" of St Augustine's in Huncoat were in favour of the closure, along with the vicar.
Another parishioner contacted the Observer to say: "It is apparent that all avenues of fund-raising have not been explored and concerns over the future of the Pals Chapel should be at the forefront of discussions.
"The church is grade two listed and is a feature of the townscape and landscape. Its closure has had a startling effect on the lives of parishioners, especially those living close by who are worried about vandalism.
"A lack of pastoral care for those hit the hardest is evident."
In a brief statement the vicar and a churchwarden said: "The Parochial Church Council of St John's with St Augustine's met on Monday to discuss, among other items, the future worship of the St John's congregation in light of the recent closure of St John's Church.
"There was a full agenda and a lively and often heated discussion took place concerning insurance, advice and offers of fund-raising.
"At 10pm the vicar, who is also chairman of the PCC, closed the meeting and announced that all offers of fund-raising would be put on hold until the next meeting.
"The decision to close the church has not been rescinded."