FOR more than five years I have read articles pertaining to the narrative surrounding St Clement’s, Camberwell. I have also witnessed the shock, grief and personal pain that followed the destructive vandalism of this church in 2008.
On July 7, 2013 St Clement’s was deconsecrated, and is therefore no longer used by the Anglican Church as a place of public worship. Yet the building is still there.
All church land and buildings are the property of the Diocese of Newcastle, which within its management structure has a Properties Approval Board, who makes the decisions in relation to all church property. After the vandalism, all information in relation to St Clement’s was tabled by the board that then made the decision it was not good stewardship to repair and reopen the church. Decision made.
It is my understanding that apart from the building’s structural faults through age and damage, the board could not see any future for it. Records of attendance would support this.
The insurance money has not been taken by the diocese, but is in a trust account to make money that will be used as required by the Parish of Singleton. The trust that holds money for the care of the grounds is working as it was intended and will continue to do so.
St Clement’s is not the first church in the parish to close. It is in fact the fifth.
The final service on Sunday was not a secret as Bishop Peter’s letter of intent had been read in church services several weeks ago and was included in the Parish Diary each week. It included a right of reply.
The few folk who travelled from Singleton to worship once a month at St Clement’s have been offered and given support from the entire parish because of this ordeal that they have had to accept.
The building is still there, and it is my hope and prayer that the folk who have a loving connection to St Clement’s will now come together and find a secure future for it.
There are a multitude of excuses to walk away, but the building is still there, and it asks for a future.
To ‘‘rake the coals’’ will benefit no one, but positive responsible action would.
Gary Holland, Singleton