St Mathias’ Church reaches fundraising goal to stop sale

RAISED: The $45,000 was raised mostly through one-off contributions. Several fundraising events were also organised.
RAISED: The $45,000 was raised mostly through one-off contributions. Several fundraising events were also organised.

A fundraising effort to save St Matthias’ Church at Windermere from sale has been successful in less than two months.

Members of the church and East Tamar residents banded together in mid-June with the goal of raising $45,000 to keep the church from being sold by the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania. 

It was included in May, along with 107 other buildings, on a provisional list of properties to be sold by the diocese, in order to meet its commitment to the national redress scheme for sexual abuse survivors. 

On Tuesday, it was announced the church had reached its goal, mostly through one-off contributions

It’s been so great in the way it has brough the community together and it has made people realise the importance of the church for the region.

Fundraiser co-organiser Jenny Chandler

Several events were also held in the church, including a classical music performance.

“It’s been just wonderful and we’ve had so much support,” fundraiser co-organiser Jenny Chandler said.

“It’s been so great in the way it has brought the community together and it has made people realise the importance of the church for the region.”

At a June 17 meeting, Archdeacon Dane Courtney said the church’s contribution to the redress scheme would be a quarter of its sale price. 

With the property valued at a little less than $200,000, the target figure was set for $45,000. 

From the remainder of the proceeds of sale, 60 per cent would be available to the parish and the other 15 per cent would remain with the diocese. 

The Tasmanian Anglican Bishop, Dr Richard Condie said he anticipated the fundraising effort would eventually exclude St Matthias’ from the sale list, after the Diocesan Council deliberates in December.

Bishop Condie announced on Tuesday the deadline to submit an exclusion application had been extended until October 1.

“We have not received formal advice from the parish, but are pleased to hear reports that St Matthias’ Windermere had raised significant funds for redress,” he said.

“From the beginning of the process, we have been encouraging Parishes to take initiative to respond to redress.

“Some will be doing this through raising funds, others through alternative proposals for the sale of property.”

Mr Courtney said the community support behind the effort has been fantastic, but that the challenge was “just beginning”.

“It’s easy to demonstrate that St Matthias has an important history and interesting past, but we need to demonstrate now that it has a future,” he said.

“We now need to guarantee it has a future as an important part of the region as a place of worship and as a community centre.

“A good amount of people have been attending services for a number of months, even before the redress scheme announcement.”

Ms Chandler said the community had recently founded the Windermere Church Forever group to ensure the church has a viable long-term future.