The community of Carcoar is preparing to fight the Bathurst Anglican Diocese over a proposal to sell the historic St Paul the Apostle church.
The administrator of the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst Archdeacon Brett Watterson addressed 12 members of the Carcoar church community on Wednesday, August 7, informing them that the church was looking at options that included selling the church on the open market.
"The Bathurst Anglican Diocese owes millions in redress for historical sexual assault claims and it needs to be paid somehow," Archdeacon Watterson said. "So other places, including Carcoar, will have to sell property. We really have no other option."
For the past 40 years Ron Murray has been the church warden and he said the Carcoar community will fight to see it become a community church.
"Over my time here around $200,000 has been raised from the community and from government grants for maintenance and repairs," he said.
"Everyone I have spoken to is incensed at the idea and want to see it remain intact for use as a venue for non-denominational services, weddings, baptisms and funerals."
The Edmund Blacket-designed building contains old oak pews that were brought from England, beautiful stained glass windows and numerous other historic items, and Mr Murray is concerned for their future.
"The sale would require the stripping from the Church of the memorial plaques, the foundation stone, stained glass windows, altar, pews, brassware, lecterns, prayer books, banners, prayer desk, font, bell and any other items which are removable," he said.
Archdeacon Watterson said that selling the Belubula Street property to the community was harder than it sounded and it was not isolated just to Carcoar.
"If we do it for Carcoar well than we would have to do it for all the other parishes, and then how do we fund redress?" he said.
"I understand the emotional sentiment and this is not an easy position for us to be in, but no firm decision has yet been made."