Anglican sale to fund future worship plans

CAMDEN

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Rev Tony Galea (inset) has assured the community the historic St John’s Anglican Church will remain untouched by any future development.

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Some of the land for sale between the church and rectory. Pictures: Robert Pozo

Old church not part of land deal

A NEW church to cater for the growing number of young Anglicans moving into Camden could be up and running within three years.

St John’s Anglican Church hopes to sell off some land and the rectory to help fund the new building.

The 1.3ha of land for sale is between the historical church and the rectory. The rectory site is 0.65ha.

The existing church, a Camden landmark consecrated in 1849, will not be sold as part of the plan. The St John’s precinct is listed as historically significant on the State Heritage Register.

St John’s Anglican Church Minister Tony Galea said selling the land would not diminish the church and would instead help to enhance the services it offered, but stressed that plans were in the early stages.

“Right now what we’re doing is taking an ordinance,” he said. “We’re in the very early stages of a process we’ve been wanting to start for several years.

“We want to provide the Camden community with a contemporary worship centre with modern facilities that can accommodate the growing population.

“Right now we are struggling to fit people in and it’s very uncomfortable, particularly for the families, at our 10am service.”

Rev Galea confirmed a property developer had approached the church about the land several years ago but said the developer was not waiting on the church to prepare the land for sale.

“When I was brought in 15 years ago I was asked to help build up the church,” he said. “We started this process because we want to be ready when a suitable offer comes along.

“We won’t sell the land just for the sake of selling, it will only be sold if the right offer comes in that will enable us to fund the new building.”

The Wollongong Diocese, which owns the land, would have to approve any sale.

Rev Galea said a new church would exist alongside the current historical church. “The old church will be used for special services such as weddings and funerals,” he said.

Camden Mayor Lara Symkowiak said any development of the land would have to be ticked off by council.