COLUMBIA — The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri announced Friday that Columbia Hope Episcopal Church will close later this month.
The church, which is located in a rented storefront on John Garry Drive across from Cosmo-Bethel Park, held its first official service at that location in February 2009. It began in 2003 as a house church.
According to Beth Felice, director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, attendance at the church started at around 40 people per week and then dropped off.
The decision to close the church was made after several discussions with church members, staff, leadership and outside consultants.
"A decision like this is not taken lightly," the Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, said in the announcement. "There will be diocesan members disappointed, as well as those who will be relieved."
The church lacked the attendance and funding necessary for growth and to pay for the construction of a permanent structure.
Another Episcopal church, Calvary Episcopal Church, is located on South Ninth Street in downtown Columbia. This location is considered healthy, Felice said.
The last service at Hope Church will be held June 26.
"Any church start is risky," said Smith in the statement, "but even though it is risky, this diocese will continue finding new ways to spread the good news of Jesus Christ."