A NOVEL campaign has been launched to stop St Mark's Church in South Norwood from crumbling.
The fundraising drive seeks to encourage people to buy a brick for either £10, £50 or £100 to raise funds for the church's unexpected renovation work.
For every brick brought, the church will recognise the generosity of the sponsor by building a paper wall made of bronze, silver and gold paper bricks with the donor's name on them, inside the church
The 160-year-old church, which is built of Kentish ragstone, underwent restoration work in the 1960s but, due to builders using the wrong type of water in the cement, the walls of the building are eroding faster than expected.
The parish had to resort to putting an iron grill over one window that was rapidly crumbling as a result of the Sixties restoration.
Unable to delay the repairs for any longer, church leaders decided to arrange for the building work to be carried out but, as builders started the work, they soon discovered a string of further problems that grew beyond the church's budget.
Facing a bill of £82,000, the church cleaned out all its bank accounts and reserve funds and was faced with a £10,000 deficit.
Treasurer Penny Smith-Orr said the church had a fluid congregation as people often move in and out of South Norwood.
She said: "People think churches have an abundance of money, we certainly do not."
To try to raise the funds, the church decided to send out letters to all of the congregation and received a fabulous response.
Despite the donations, the church still needs to raise about £6,000 to pay the builders.
The church plans to eventually erect a plaque listing all the people who helped in the hour of need.
Ms Smith-Orr said: "We cannot even afford a Christmas tree at the moment, but we hope things will soon change."