ST BARNABAS’ Anglican Church may have been gutted by fire three years ago, but the parish remains as strong as ever.
On February 23, 2014, the historic church was deliberately set alight leaving many in the community shocked.
Since then, parishioners from the South Bathurst Anglican Parish have worshiped at the Catholic Church convent in Perthville.
Reverend Rosie Wynter, who is also the pastoral minister for the South Bathurst Anglican Parish, said the parishioners’ faith remains strong.
“Yes the building is gone, but we are the body of the church and we will continue,” she said. “We are closer because of the fire. We have unified because of the fire. The parish is alive and well.”
Bishop Ian Palmer announced last month that the church will not be rebuilt, and instead it will become a place of reflection for the community.
Yes the building is gone, but we are the body of the church and we will continue.Anglican Reverend Rosie Wynter
“They’d [those in the South Bathurst Anglican Parish] still like to remain as their own entity, they didn’t want to disperse and join other parishes,” Rev. Wynter said.
She said parishioners were also “very open” to plans for the site.
“It’s a sacred space, not a monument, that’s most important thing,” Rev. Wynter said. “It broke their hearts when it burnt down, but they’ve moved on in trust and faith and they want the community to know that.”
She said there is forgiveness for the man who is now serving jail time for lighting the fire: “The people of St Barnabas’ have forgiven him and they pray for him.”
“From disaster and ruin there is always a gift, and the gift is bringing the church community together and cementing friendships and commitment,” she said.