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Churches oppose post office closures
Two and a half thousand post offices are under threat within the next twelve months, according to a survey of the people who run them.
The National Rural Officer for the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, the Reverend Elizabeth Clark, says cuts to the post office network could be "quite devastating".
Elizabeth Clark warned: "It feels as if it's just another thing that's gone. It could start to feel a bit siege-like. Everything is pulling out and leaving us."
The survey has been carried out by the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters.
The Federation's Head of Policy, Peter Hall, told Premier some businesses face closure while others would consider cutbacks in services or opening hours.
"In a small village the post office might be the only shop in the village. So if it closes there's no alternative besides an outreach service.
"That's a mobile van or opening up in another space like a church hall for a few hours each week."
Elizabeth Clark says Christians should support local businesses by making sure they use them regularly.
"It's no good lamenting that the shop's closed if we never actually went in and bought anything there.
"Perhaps that's part of our Christian duty, to support the services and facilities that are in our communities so that others can benefit too."
But Elizabeth Clark thinks if a local post office is forced to close, the churches in the area should consider radical solutions. She praised communities which have agreed to provide post office services in church buildings.
"Some churches host those for good effect. People go to the post office to post a parcel and they have a coffee and they talk to one another.
"From the church's point of view it could be a mission opportunity."
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