About 30 people in Sydney Mines held a protest Thursday outside a Catholic church that's slated to close in June.

The Diocese of Antigonish is closing about a dozen churches across Cape Breton County – including Immaculate Conception in Sydney Mines.

Church officials say across the diocese, attendance is dropping and costs are rising.

But parishioners at Immaculate Conception say that’s not the case at their church where they say all the bills are paid.

Alma Ashe has been attending the church for more than 80 years. She doesn’t believe the bishop has the right to close her church.

"How can one person come and tell you they’re taking the church?" she asked. "They don’t own the church. They never paid the upkeep. As poor as some of the people were, they gave collection. How can one person say they’re closing the church?"

The protest ended after officials from the diocese agreed to meet with the group next week.