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Byron Shire
June 6, 2023

Wedding for a family but funeral for a church

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[author]Luis Feliu[/author]

A third-generation family wedding was a happy day for a young Burringbar couple but a bittersweet moment in the life of the local church.

Lisa and Michael Reeve believe they could be the last to get married in the historic Anglican church in the village, which is being sold by the Anglican diocese of Grafton to overcome financial problems.

They said the occasion at the St Michael’s and All Angels Anglican church last Saturday, attended by more than 60 friends and family members, was made all the more poignant by the presence of their one-year-old daughter Charlotte who is the fourth-generation Reeve to have been born and live in the area.

The couple said it would be a sad day for the village to see the ‘beautiful old church’ sold off, and the couple wanted to exchange their vows there ‘to show the church full of life and celebration, as it should be’.

Kingscliff parish rector, Reverend Eron Perry, officiated at the ceremony.

The church owners, the Kingscliff Anglican Church parish, is selling the property as part of a wider bid by the Anglican diocese of Grafton to overcome financial problems.

But locals want the 100-year-old lovingly maintained church, planned to be auctioned off soon, to be put to community use or at least heritage protected owing to its historic connection with the Burringbar community. The diocese has agreed to meet with a delegation of locals tomorrow, Friday, to discuss its future.

‘Like the rest of the congregation, we are heartbroken about the sale of the church and would welcome the opportunity to remind people (and possibly the church elders) that any fast financial gains from the sale are outweighed by the loss of such a prominent piece of local history,’ Lisa told Echonetdaily.

‘There are 100 years of births, deaths and marriages tied up in that church, in addition to a century of worship. It truly is a magical building with an incredible ambience.

‘Funnily enough, I’m not religious at all but started attending church solely on the basis of the building itself.’

Michael said he, his father Jim and grandfather Stanley had all been born and lived in the area so it was only fitting that they continued a tradition by marrying at the local church to ‘keep it a Burringbar thing’.

‘Every time we drove past the church, especially in the late afternoon with the sun shining on it, we thought it has to be this one that we get married in,’ he said.

Image: Newlyweds Lisa and Michael Reeve and their one-year-old daughter Charlotte are pictured after their wedding outside St Michael’s and All Angels Anglican Church in Burringbar last Saturday. The couple say their wedding service may be the last one held in the historic church which is being put up for sale. Photo Luis Feliu

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