THE Church of England in Sussex is due to run out of cash reserves by the end of next year.
The news means that parishioners are being asked to dig deep to help pull the Diocese of Chichester out of the red.
Falling income from parishes has forced the organisation, which is responsible for all Anglican churches across the county, to spend its savings.
It is expected to lose £700,000 this year and £500,000 in 2013, using up the last of its reserves.
The diocese has brought in a raft of cost saving measures, including stopping most new appointments. This means that departing vicars may not always be replaced.
Instead, vicars from other churches , as well as retired clergymen and lay readers are being drafted in to hold services.
The church’s current cash crisis is due in part to the global financial crisis which has significantly damaged its investments.
The diocese is exploring merging parishes as a way of cutting costs, with ten parish mergers in Sussex taking place over the last year alone.
It does have access to some emergency funds.