The fight to save St Paul's Anglican Church in Carcoar is won.
The directors of St Paul's Carcoar Community Facility Ltd signed the contract to officially take ownership at 1.30pm on Friday, marking a monumental occasion and proving how powerful small communities can be when united.
St Paul's Carcoar Association announced last month it had raised the $450,000 required to buy the property which virtually assured it would remain in the community's hands, but with the deposit also paid the sale is now rubber-stamped.
"The Carcoar community will own St Paul's and all of its contents forever - above all the ashes, memorial plaques and stained-glass windows will remain with the building," George King, one of five directors, said.
Many believed raising $450,000 in 90 days to be an impossible task.St Paul's Carcoar Community Facility Ltd director George King
"This project has been an example of what a small community can achieve when it works together."
The battle began in 2019 when the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst announced it was considering selling the church to help address a $40 million debt and meet an estimated $6.5 million in historical child sexual assault redress payments.
Public outcry resulted and discussions ensued, before the formation of the St Paul's Carcoar Association at the back end of 2020. Just days after forming, the association was informed it would have the chance to purchase the history building before it went to market.
They were given just 90 days to raise the required $450,000, with March 16 set as the deadline. They achieved that goal with just five days to spare, incredibly around $390,000 of that was raised in the two weeks prior.
"[Friday's] deal happened because the Diocese has kept its word, we had no formal option to purchase but rather a handshake deal with the Bishop," Mr King said.
"Many believed raising $450,000 in 90 days to be an impossible task but a united community, the incredibly generosity of a lot of people and the love of a small village made it all happen ahead of schedule and above budget."
Mr King is joined on the board of directors by Gail Blowes, McKenzie Graham, Dawn Williams and Ron Murray, those leaders will continue to be appointed by the community in future years.
"The directors will now be focused on employing tradesmen to repaint the interior of the building, construct that paving area, a deck area and new toilet facilities," Mr Murray said.
"The garden will be revamped with the mature trees shaped and some new trees planted, a watering system (installed) and fresh garden beds too."
The main income generator for the church is expected to be through its use as a wedding venue, Ms Williams explained, which will boost the local economy as a whole.
"It will benefit every other business in town from the Royal Hotel to the School of Arts for receptions, caterers, cleaners, B&Bs and the coffee and gift shops," she said.
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