The Anglican Church is asking the Federal village community for $220,000 to buy back the church its forbears built and donated.
A meeting on Saturday morning at the town’s iconic church saw a crowd of around 70, including three current councillors, who all voted in favour of trying to raise the capital.
Retaining the history
Co-organiser Rhonda Ansiewicz told Echonetdaily, ‘The Federal community is resolute in retaining this historic church. It was built on donated land and with funds raised solely by the Federal community.
‘It is important we retain the history in our village. We hope to secure the church and keep it in perpetuity for future generations to come.’
A document sent to Echonetdaily by resident Hilary Bone claims it was originally built by the Federal community in 1909 on land given by then-resident Samuel John McCutcheon. In 1911 it was transferred to the Corporate Trustees of the Diocese of Grafton and Armidale.
Six months ago the Anglican Diocese of Grafton announced the decision to sell the historically significant building. At that point community members began negotiations and now the agreement is $200,000, with an extra $20,000 needed for expected associated expenses.
A deposit of $20,000 is also required as soon as possible to kick-start proceedings, say organisers. A community chest of $10,000 is already established after previous fundraisers.
The crowd was told by co-organiser Alan Goldstein, ‘Due to financial trouble, the Anglican Diocese of Grafton has been selling off real estate, including churches, in an attempt to recoup money lost on an educational development in Coffs Harbour. It is estimated to be a $10 million shortfall.’
Ownership of the church, if achieved, would be handed over to the Federal School of The Arts Trust and it would be used for community events and possibly hired out as a wedding venue, among other uses.
Organisers say donations will be partially tax deductible and in the event that the money is not raised by June, all individual donations will be returned. They added that it is important to keep receipts of all donations.
If you would like to help the Federal community keep its church, simply donate through the NAB account that has been set up: BSB 082729, account number 119087713.
Also you can email [email protected], or post a cheque to PO Box 52 Federal 2480. Cheques should be made out to Federal Church Fund, and ensure your name is clearly associated with any deposit.