St Matthias’ Church is still living on a prayer

APPEAL: About $25,000 has been raised to help save the church. It is estimated that $45,000 is needed to save the church from sale.
APPEAL: About $25,000 has been raised to help save the church. It is estimated that $45,000 is needed to save the church from sale.

The fight to save St Matthias’ Church from sale is halfway there. 

The Windermere church was listed as one of 108 properties the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania intended to sell as a part of its effort to fund its commitment to the national redress scheme for sexual abuse survivors. 

After a meeting on June 17, the parish decided it would try to raise $45,000 to save the church from being put onto the open market.

Holy Trinity Anglican parish Archdeacon Dane Courtney said the fundraising efforts were going “quite well”.

The Holy Trinity parish is the steward of the church.

“We’re more than halfway to the target we wanted to achieve – we’ve raised around $25,000,” he said.

“Most of the money raised has come from direct donations from church and community members. 

“I would say that there has been at least 12 people who have supplied direct donations.”

The diocese estimated St Matthias’ would be sold for a little under $200,000, with a quarter of it going toward the redress scheme.

Mr Courtney said at the June meeting that if the parish could raise a quarter of $200,000, and direct it to the national redress scheme, the church would be saved from sale. 

Parish council member Evelyn Tuba said at the June meeting that the church was an iconic symbol of the Tamar Valley. 

“There's a recurring theme here – it has had a great, rich heritage,” she said. 

“We really do envisage that with continual, ongoing support...we can be ongoing custodians of that heritage.”

A number of fundraising events have been organised for the appeal, including a harp recital on Saturday at Windermere.

An afternoon of classical music by composers such as Bach, Handel, and a number of French composers, was heard by those in attendance. 

It’s easy to demonstrate that the church has got an interesting past, but we’re trying to demonstrate that it has an important future.

Holy Trinity Anglican parish Archdeacon Dane Courtney

Mr Courtney said there was a viable future for the church. 

“It’s easy to demonstrate that the church has got an interesting past, but we’re trying to demonstrate that it has an important future,” he said.

“We think it’s important that the church maintains its presence in that part of Tasmania, because there are not many other alternatives. 

“There has been strong attendance in recent months and we think there’s a useful life into the future.”

St Matthias’ Church was built in 1843 by Dr Matthias Gaunt for his wife Frances.

Dr Gaunt died in 1874 and was buried at the cemetery attached to the church.

For more information on the appeal, or to make a direct contribution, contact the St Matthias’ Church on  6331 4460.