Max Kelsall inside All Saints Anglican Church at Lawrence where he has worshipped for 80 years and would like his funeral service to be held.
Max Kelsall inside All Saints Anglican Church at Lawrence where he has worshipped for 80 years and would like his funeral service to be held. Adam Hourigan

'Keep our church'

ALL Saints Church at Lawrence has been central to most of the big moments in 84-year-old Max Kelsall's life and he would like it to be the place for his last.

"I was christened in All Saints, married there and buried my wife, Lola, there," Mr Kelsall said.

"And I want to leave from there, but it may not be possible now."

Like most of the Anglican congregation of Lawrence, Mr Kelsall has been dismayed at the prospect the Anglican Diocese of Grafton could close All Saints.

Mr Kelsall said his mother had first taken him to All Saints as a young boy.

"There's every chance I've been coming to church here for 80 years or more," he said.

Like many people in Lawrence he will be at the church tomorrow afternoon for a public meeting to oppose the diocesan proposal.

Mr Kelsall believes the congregation of Lawrence and the four other small churches in the Mac- lean Parish are paying the price for decisions made in other areas of the dioceses.

"The church got itself in a bit of a mess with the Anglican school in South Grafton (Clarence Valley Anglican School)," Mr Kelsall said.

"Now it seems to be taking it out on the rest of the churches."

He said closing All Saints would be a backward step for the faithful in the area.

"We had a Baptist Church and it closed down. We've still got the Presbyterian/Methodists but the Catholic Church has gone," he said.

"The trouble seems to be attracting rectors to a parish with so many churches.

"I think they believe if they get rid of one or two churches it will be easier to attract a rector."

Even if the church goes, Lawrence will still have a memorial to the Kelsalls - Kelsall's Hill.

The hill where the family has its home was named after Mrs Kelsall who died 23 years ago.

Mr Kelsall said his daughter applied to have the area named after Mrs Kelsall because of her contributions to the community.

"She was a Jacaranda Matron of Honour and Citizen of the Year, among other things," he said.



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