FOR 155 years the Perthville Uniting Church has nurtured the faith and hope of its parishioners, but on Sunday it closed its doors for the last time.
The church, located just one kilometre north of the village on the Vale Road, was first dedicated as a place of worship in 1863.
On Sunday afternoon, it was the scene of a final service – one of thanksgiving and closure – led by Reverend Claire Wright, the minister of the Bathurst Uniting Church.
“We gather today to celebrate the life of Perthville Uniting Church, where for over 150 years, faith and hope have been nurtured by word and sacrament, friendship and hospitality and care,” she told those gathered.
During the service Rev. Wright spoke of the different areas of the church such as worship, celebration, music, prayer and the grounds surrounding the building; along with the people who contributed their time and effort to its efficient running.
“[People] who have exercised their gifts in the playing and singing of music, the celebration of the harvest, the fellowship of craft and the doing of odd jobs,” she said.
“For those who have humbly served God and their neighbour in the kitchen, with urns and platters; in the grounds with mowers and ladders; [and] in the back rooms with rosters and cheque books.”
Among those at the service was Coral Burge who has been a parishioner with the church for 40 years and one of the organ and piano players for decades.
“I’ve been playing the organ for about 25 years and it’s been a real privilege,” she said.
“It’s a sad day because we had a lovely fellowship, but with the beetles and the age we’ll just have to go to the big church, the one in town,” she said of the Uniting Church on William Street.
For over 150 years, faith and hope have been nurtured by word and sacrament, friendship and hospitality and care.Reverend Claire Wright
Rev. Wright said the decision to close the church as a place of worship was made for a number of reasons and after much discussion.
Among the reasons was the small and aging nature of the congregation, maintenance costs for the historic building and an infestation of elm leaf beetles in the building.
The church and parishioners have endured the beetles for more than two years, and have been holding all services in the hall.