OUR SAY: Legal battle puts Anglican parishioners' faith to the test

A CHURCH community is more than bricks and mortar and it can still flourish so long as there is faith. 

But what happens when that faith wavers?

It is sad to see a church such as the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst facing such dire financial difficulties, but it is even sadder to see parishioners lose faith in the church, which has traditionally had such high standing within the community. 

But who could blame people for questioning their commitment to an organisation that managed to rack up about $36 million in debt and the borrowing only stopped because the Commonwealth Bank froze the accounts?

In Bishop Ian Palmer's own words, people he loves dearly have lost their faith in the church organisation, but he hopes the way the financial crisis is eventually resolved will restore that faith.

To Bishop Palmer's credit, he has been as open and as honest as impending legal proceedings would allow him to be, but he also wants people to be honest and open with him. 

The meeting, to be held on Saturday at St Barnabas Church, will be a chance for all parishioners who feel their confidence in the management of the church is wavering to have an opportunity to talk with the Bishop and leave with some optimism about the future.

The church will emerge from this crisis in a different form, but its destiny and the destiny of its parishioners are intertwined.

Past decisions have not always been made with the knowledge and support of the entire church congregation but Saturday's meeting is an attempt to address that.

Unpleasant as the alternatives now appear, at least a broad range of church officials will have some say in how the church faces the impending legal battle.


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