Plymouth Brethren considers boosting its congregation through advertising

Christian group refused charitable status is considering promoting its services more widely to satisfy Charity Commission's public benefit criteria

Plymouth Brethren
Plymouth Brethren

A group of Plymouth Brethren, whose trust was refused charitable status by the Charity Commission, have said they will consider advertising its services more widely in a bid to meet public benefit requirements.

The commission told the Preston Down Trust, which meets in locations in and around Torbay, south Devon, that it did not pass the public benefit test because it did not do enough to advertise services, did not allow access to Holy Communion and followed doctrines that kept them separate from the rest of the community.

Rod Buckley, a member of the trust, told Third Sector that the regular congregation at its main meeting hall in Paignton was just over 100, but that attendance could swell to 300 people if those who did not attend regularly were included.

He said that the Brethren viewed this level of openness and attendance as meeting public benefit requirements, but the group was happy to make efforts to ensure more people attended.

"We’d certainly look at making information available online and making service times clearer," said Buckley. "It’s not necessarily something we’ve done, but it’s not something we’re opposed to."

Buckley said that the Brethren preached the gospel in public and many Christian groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, limited access to Holy Communion.

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