Churches make up majority of Anglican assets earmarked for sale

Anglican Bishop Richard Condie
Anglican Bishop Richard Condie

The Anglican Church of Tasmania has published a preliminary list of properties it is proposing to sell to fund redress for survivors of child sexual abuse.

The final list, which will be considered by all parishes and finalised at a Synod meeting in June, will involve 108 properties, 76 of which will be churches.

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Others will include community halls and vacant lots.

The preliminary list published by the Anglican Diocese on Monday contained 78 properties, of which 55 were churches.

Among the churches on the list are St Andrews Anglican Church at Evandale, Christ Church at Illawarra, St Matthias Church at Windermere, St Pauls Anglican Church in Devonport, St Lukes Church at Latrobe and St Pauls at Stanley.

In April, actuaries confirmed that the Anglican Diocese’s liability for the national redress scheme was roughly $8.6 million, prompting the diocese to devise its plan to sell a large swathe of its properties.

It is estimated $4.7 million from the proposed property sales will service the redress scheme liability, while $2.8 million of church funds and $1.1 million in direct contributions will service the remainder of the liability.

Of the properties proposed for sale, 10 are already on the market, four are under contract and three are already closed.

The church’s proposal has been praised by sexual abuse survivors but has provoked some backlash on a community level.

From June until October, parishes will be able to apply to the diocesan council for properties to be exempt from sale.

The council will meet in December to review any applications.

Anglican Bishop Richard Condie said the life of Jesus Christ would be the model for “costly sacrifice” adopted by the church in funding its redress scheme contribution.

“I believe that acknowledging the church’s past failures and making redress, honours Jesus and will bring restoration,” he said.

Bishop Condie acknowledged that the sale of properties, particularly churches, would be painful for communities, but said “most” worshipping Anglicans had expressed support for the proposal.