A 161-year-old church in Golden Square will be put up for sale by the Uniting Church in attempt to clear its debt.
The Golden Square Uniting Church is among the 56 Uniting Church properties being sold to try and raise money after the collapse of Acacia College, last year.
A Maldon church and Sunday School and vacant land in Echuca Moama will also be on the market.
Golden Square Uniting Church Council chairman David Wright said parishioners were angry there wasn’t any local consultation before the final decision was made.
He said the parishioners have had to suffer for something that happened in Melbourne.
“They are feeling hurt because they have not been consulted,” Mr Wright said.
Since June the Uniting Church has been establishing a list of properties for divestment.
A Uniting Church Victoria spokesperson said every property in every Presbytery in Victoria was assessed on property type, location and value with a list of preferred properties released last week.
“Throughout the process there has been a high level of consultation, liaison and discussion between the Presbyteries and the Synod,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Wright said despite the congregation’s anger, parishioners are feeling relieved.
“We had a meeting on Sunday and the decision has been accepted, we have to move on” he said.
Mr Wright said the congregation was already considering its options for the future after the number of worshipers over the years had dwindled.
“We will now have to disappear and find a new place to worship,” he said.
VOTE: Should this church be put in the community's hands?
Mr Wright said he hoped whoever the church was sold to would make the historic building available for community use.
“We do hope another church can buy it or it could become a recital centre or even a Bendigo museum,” he said.
“It is a beautiful building and the acoustics are really good, we would be horrified if it became a hotel.”
Mr Wright said the church would definitely be missed.
“The church was the first to be built in the goldfields,” he said.
“Golden Square wouldn’t be Golden Square if it didn’t have that church.”
The Maldon church is set to celebrate its 160th anniversary next month.
A spokesperson said the milestone service would likely be its last.