Modern church rises from the ashes

ORIGINAL STORY: Kangaroo Flat church to rise from the ashes

The new St Mary’s church in Kangaroo Flat will be open for business on February 14.

An arson attack destroyed the previous building in December 2008 and Reverend Bryn Jones said parishioners were thrilled to finally have their church restored.

“It’s about creating something good from something that was quite traumatic,” he said.

“A lot of hard work and preparation has gone into it.”

It’s about creating something good from something that was quite traumatic. - Reverend Bryn Jones

The church will hold its first mass on Friday, February 14, at 7pm, and the parish is expecting 300 people to attend.

In the years since the fire the congregation's 80 regular churchgoers have been gathering in the remains of the church hall.

But they will soon have a contemporary, high-tech facility at their disposal, with the new building being a distinct departure from the previous Gothic-style one.

Loose seating, up-to-date audio visual technology and climate-control devices are just some of the new features in the spacious development.

“I’ve been really surprised with how the transition’s gone from the old to the new,” Mr Jones said.

“I thought that it would come as more of a shock to some people but on the whole people have really embraced it. It didn’t make sense to build something this new and not fully equip it.”

Local architect Leigh Cartwright from Hughes Cartwright Design Group designed the church’s new look.

The cost of the new building came to about $2 million, which was funded by the church’s savings, insurance payouts and private donations.

“We’ve had some very generous donating,” Mr Jones said.

But he also said the church had borrowed $260,000 to fund the new development, and welcomed further donations.

Services St Mary’s will run include a Wednesday breakfast club at Kangaroo Flat Primary School, a Christian meditation group on Mondays and Thursdays and monthly “all-ages” masses – complete with power point presentations and contemporary music – to engage younger churchgoers.

Mr Jones said the fire had made the parish community closer.

“They’re a very cohesive group of people,” he said.

“We try to concentrate on being a welcoming community.”

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