John Temple is a survivor of Anglican clergy abuse, but he doesn’t want to lose his local church in the sale to cover redress debt. (Felicity Ogilvie)
An unlikely advocate is helping lead the charge to save Anglican churches in Tasmania from being sold off to help fund the child sex abuse redress scheme.
John Temple is one of the many survivors of church sex abuse, but he is determined his local church, St Mary’s in Hagley, won’t be sold to foot the bill.
He is part of a small community in northern Tasmania that is raising money to save their churches, while also offering support to survivors.
The redress payments will help Mr Temple be able to afford retirement, but he doesn’t want that to come at the cost of selling off the 170-year-old church at Hagley.
“I’m thrilled with the support that the notion of redress has in the community,” Mr Temple said.
“I believe, if asked, people could come up with the money … and the churches wouldn’t have to be sold.”
The Anglican Church in Tasmania needs $8 million to pay redress to survivors of child sex abuse.
But it will raise far more money than that by selling off up to 76 churches.
Tasmanian Bishop Richard Condie plans to use funds from the sale of historic churches in Tasmania to fund ‘new ministries’ after covering child sexual abuse redress debts. (ABC News: Emily Street)
Of the proceeds of the property sales, according to the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania, only 25 per cent will go to the child sex abuse redress fund.
Another 25 per cent will be spent on what Bishop Richard Condie calls “new ministries”, and the remaining half will remain in trust for “parish use”.
Bishop Condie declined to be interviewed for the story.
“The concern is that the bishop has a new form of ministry that he’s advocating, and that doesn’t require this sort of church,” Mr Temple said.
It will be December before the locals in Mr Temple’s parish find out whether their fundraising efforts will be enough to save their churches.
It’s a stressful wait for the church warden at St Mary’s, Rosemary Stobart.
“I got married here, my children were baptised here, confirmed here, one of my children were married here — so it does have a very big feeling for me,” she said.
Ms Stobart stressed no-one was against paying redress, but locals were worried the Anglican Church’s new ministry was being funded by selling off the old historic properties where families had been married and buried for generations.
It will be December before St Mary’s parishioners will find out whether their fundraising was enough to save their church from sale. (Felicity Ogilvie)
Even the local priest was expected to be buried here next to her husband, she said.
The State Government is busy writing new laws to protect the graves that surround most of the Anglican churches that could soon be sold.
But the remains of a former premier of Tasmania — Sir Richard Dry — are a bit more closely tied to the church in Hagley.
“Sir Richard is buried in the church,” Mr Temple said.
“It was part of the graveyard. But then the church was extended, so he’s actually now in the church, underneath the altar.
Mr Temple said the thought of St Mary’s being sold horrified him, and he wondered what would happen to Sir Richard.
“Is someone going to put their kitchen sink over the top of him?” he asked.