End of era for church

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Manjimup Uniting Church Pastor Kristin Grainger.
Camera IconManjimup Uniting Church Pastor Kristin Grainger. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times/Tari Jeffers

Almost 100 years of Manjimup history has come to a close as the Uniting Church building shut its doors due to structural concerns.

The Manjimup Uniting Church community held a decommissioning service on Sunday to farewell a building that has been a place of worship since 1925.

Pastor Kristin Grainger said while the closure was sad, it was important to remember it was not the end of the church’s community.

“Church is about the people of God, not the buildings,” she said.

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“We as a church have relocated and will commence worship from out of one of the Seventh Day Adventist rooms located off their hall.”

The first service at the new location will be Sunday.

Kristin said it was a sad time for the community, as people had celebrated births, marriages and deaths at the church.

“The whole process has been one of grief, so we are excited that we can move forward this weekend from a new facility, resolved to continue our faith-filled journeys,” she said.

The building’s closure came as a result of three other Uniting Churches in WA which had ceilings collapse over the past two years. As a result, the Uniting Church’s insurance had all the buildings in WA site-visited by building inspectors to check the quality.

Work orders were given to many of the congregations for building maintenance and Manjimup’s church and hall had extensive building issues.

The work order said the ceilings needed to be replaced, the roof was in need of repair and various other work was needed.

Due to the costs involved, the Manjimup Uniting Church congregation had to forfeit its buildings in June.

Manjimup Uniting Church Pastor Kristin Grainger shuts the doors on the church building's 94-year history.
Camera IconManjimup Uniting Church Pastor Kristin Grainger shuts the doors on the church building's 94-year history. Credit: Tari Jeffers

“Our last two services before we closed were two transfers into the church,” Kristin said.

After forfeiting the buildings, the congregation began meeting at the Anglican hall and had recently been using The Hub at the Manjimup Family Centre.

“We are so blessed by the assistance and prayers of the Manjimup Minister’s Fraternal and their congregations,” Kristin said.

“One of our visions is to be in partnership with others.

“When we were notified we had to vacate the building immediately back in June, the support and encouragement from the other congregations was overwhelming.”

The cost of renovations to the Manjimup Uniting Church was about $70,000 and Kristin said the congregation had decided against fundraising to try to reach the goal.

“As a small congregation, we were wondering how in the future we would manage financially and labour wise, as the congregation is rather elderly,” she said.

“As sad as it is, the closure is the answer to prayer and with pastor Ross Craig and his congregation from the Seventh Day Adventist Church offering space to worship, we can now look forward towards fulfilling out roles as Christians.”

The Manjimup Uniting Church community began with Reverend Newton Hollands in 1922.

He was followed by Rev. Reuben Steer in 1924.

When the church building was constructed in 1925, the congregation was led by a Rev. F. E. James.

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