Anglican Bishop Called in to Glenreagh as Grafton Anglican Diocese Hits Back to Claim the Purse Strings

The Glenreagh Anglican Church will be missed by many including Sherwood Cliffs which supplied a nativity scene for this year.


AS disappointment, despair and frustration spreads across the Orara Valley over the forced closure of two of its Anglican churches, the Anglican Grafton Diocese has hit back at claims the churches’ finances operate independently to the Diocese.

They are now sending down the Bishop to talk to parishioners and the wardens of The Orara Valley Anglican Churches to address concerns over the sell-off of the churches.

The Wardens of the Coramba and Glenreagh Church, along with the Orara Valley Warden, state that the churches do not incur costs to the Diocese.

Therefore, they believe the reason given by the Diocese for closure, insufficient resources, is unfounded.

A Diocesan spokesperson told News Of The Area, “The Orara Valley Parish is a ministry unit of the Diocese (the Anglican Church on the North Coast) so whatever funds they hold are considered diocesan funds.

“It’s the Diocese, not the local parish, that decides where its funds are to be spent, so if the parish has funds we are saying in this case they should spend them on paying a priest to lead the community, rather than on maintaining three buildings that are 10 minutes drive apart.”

When asked if the Diocese was aware of the historical and cultural significance of the Coramba Church in particular, which is heritage listed and the oldest surviving church in the Local Government Area, the spokesperson responded, “Yes we are.

“Alternative uses have been found for historic churches in Australia and around the world.

“In many cases this has ensured their ongoing preservation as heritage buildings.

“We are sure that new owners can be found who will respect the heritage status of the Coramba Church,” the spokesperson said.

None of this is welcome news to Mr Gary Bennett, the Glenreagh Church Warden, who has organised protests at Glenreagh Church against the closures and subsequent sell off.

“The reason we don’t pay for a priest is they can’t supply one,” said Mr Bennett.

“They have not provided a priest at Glenreagh for the last twelve months.

“Nothing has ever come down from the Diocese to the local parish.

“Until we took a stand last month they hadn’t provided an appointed locum priest,” he said.

“The Bishop has had to come to agree to meet parishioners on the 10th December at Nana Glen.

“The focus needs to be on him responding to the Parish Council’s letter asking the diocese to release the property back to the parish,” Mr Bennett said.

“The Richmond Valley Council bought the Rappville Anglican Church for $30,000,” he continued.

“As soon as it becomes about bureaucracy and politics it makes you question the church.”


By Sandra MOON

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