Hymns will soon echo through Laanecoorie Uniting Church for the last time.
Former congregants of Eddington and Laanecoorie Uniting churches will join together at the end of November to mark the official closure of both churches.
Neither church has held regular services since 2015, at which point the congregations moved to Dunolly Uniting Church.
Former member of Laanecoorie Geoff Curnow said the service was being held to recognise the fact that neither church will be used for services in the future.
“They just haven’t been used for so long that it’s been decided that we need to have a decommissioning service,” Mr Curnow said.
“People want a finality, just to know that well, it’s finished, and we can move on.”
Both churches were built around 150 years ago. In that time they have hosted christenings, weddings and funerals.
Mr Curnow is expecting the final service to be attended by those whose life events have been marked in the church who want to remember the times they had there.
He himself had been a member of Laanecoorie Uniting Church his entire life before services stopped. He sees the end of services at the church as part of a process of change.
“We used to have a football team too, things have changed, we’ve been travelling to churches for a long time,” he said.
“There’ll be people that grew up in the district, perhaps that were married there or went to Sunday school there, or were christened there… who would like to know that it’s happening, and whether they attend or not, we’ve given them the opportunity.”
After being closed the churches will probably both be sold.
Mr Curnow said the cost of maintaining old buildings had contributed to the decision to sell the churches.
“There’s just costs that people don't realise that somebody has to pay on these old buildings,” Mr Curnow said.
“If they’re not used and they cost money and the congregation is diminishing, we have trouble maintaining churches.”
Selling the churches is not an idea without opponents.
In Eddington a community group has is fighting the sale of the church, saying they want the building in public hands.
Assistant Secretary of Eddington Community Incorporated Val Morrison said members would like to see the building stay a part of the community.
“We want it. We don’t want to see it turned into a private building like all the other churches around the district are,” Mrs Morrison said.
“If it’s sold we want it sold at a price we can afford, which is very little at the moment.
“It’s the only old building in the town which is still in public hands, and there’s a lot of people with connections to it who feel they don’t want to see it passed into private hands.”
The group does not know how they would pay for the church, Mrs Morrison said, but plans to keep trying to prevent a sale.
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