The congregation and wider community has 30 days to raise $180,000 for critical repairs to Ballina Uniting Church or the Cherry St building will be demolished.
The congregation and wider community has 30 days to raise $180,000 for critical repairs to Ballina Uniting Church or the Cherry St building will be demolished. Cathy Adams

$180,000 needed in 30 days to save historic Ballina church

A 30-DAY lifeline has been granted to preserve one of Ballina's oldest buildings, which will be demolished if $180,000 can't be sourced in time for critical repairs.

The Ballina Uniting Church building on Cherry St was the town's first brick church and would celebrate its centenary in 2020.

Reverend Maggie De Leeuw said it had been a deeply emotional time for the congregation who were preparing to farewell the building that had been an integral part of their spiritual journey for generations.

"For many in Ballina, this building and, more importantly, the congregation, have played a pivotal role in celebrating significant milestones in people's lives, beyond just weddings, births, baptisms and funerals," she said.

Rev De Leeuw said due to the real danger of the building collapsing, as outlined in two independent engineering reports, the church did not have the luxury of time to try to raise the necessary funds, nor was Ballina Shire Council in a financial position to assist.

At their meeting last Thursday, Ballina councillors voted to give the church an additional 30 days to source the funds needed for the building's restoration, and suggested crowdfunding was an option.

"As a church community, crowdfunding for a building goes against all we stand for," Rev De Leeuw said.

"Our role in the life of the local community is to serve the community, and to find ways to make a difference spiritually, emotionally and practically.

"However, the Ballina Shire community deserves the opportunity to save the building for historical purposes.

"Therefore, we invite those who would like to see the building remain standing the opportunity to make pledges towards the cost of restoration.

"The pledges will be kept confidential and only be called on if there are enough pledges to meet the cost of the repairs."

Rev De Leeuw said regardless of the outcome for the building, the congregation would continue to serve the local community.

Pledges can be made to John Edwards by email at jedw7616@bigpond.net.au Please include your name and contact details.



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