Congregation and parish council vote to sell St John’s land

Unhappy campers: Community members and parishioners opposed to the sale have voiced their concerns. Picture: Chris Lane
Unhappy campers: Community members and parishioners opposed to the sale have voiced their concerns. Picture: Chris Lane

The sale of land at St John’s Anglican Church Camden is one step closer to reality with the Parish Council this week endorsing a $7.7 million transaction.

The Moran Group, which develops aged care homes, offered the church the multi-million dollar sum last month and intends to build a similar facility at the site.

Minister Tony Galea said he was thrilled to see progress with the sale of three parcels of land – the horse paddocks, the historic rectory and an adjoining property on Alpha Road – and looked forward to moving ahead with plans for a new building at the site.

Happy times: St John's Anglican Church minister Tony Galea (right) with youth minister Karina Edgerton in the church building, which will not be sold. Picture: Chris Lane

Happy times: St John's Anglican Church minister Tony Galea (right) with youth minister Karina Edgerton in the church building, which will not be sold. Picture: Chris Lane

“Parish Council passed a motion to sell to pay for the building of a new worship centre in line with the wishes of the congregation,” he said.

“This decision will now go to the diocese to prepare the way forward.”

The Parish Council support came after the congregation voted into favour of selling in recent weeks.

Of the 332 people who voted, 269 voted yes.

Camden Residents’ Action Group president Glenda Davis said she was disappointed that a group of less than 300 people was “determining the destiny of a State Heritage-listed item”.

“St John’s leadership claim that they need to sell our heritage in order to build a new worship centre beside Camden’s heritage-listed 200-seat church because it is mostly full for its three services on Sunday,” she said.

“St John’s is a multi-church parish with voters from Mount Hunter, Werombi, Carrington and Women’s Church. Only 332 people who attended church services since voting opened actually cast a vote suggesting the old church can comfortably hold the congregation and has plenty of spare capacity for any likely growth.

“St John’s parish roll contains the names of more than 500 people with voting eligibility, but not everyone is on the parish roll, so it is probable about 600 people had eligibility to vote. Why did parishioners stay away from services and not vote?”

Rev Galea said St John’s church leaders had been pursuing plans for a secondary worship centre “for many years” and the sale was “one step closer” to their idea coming to fruition.