​St Peter’s Memorial Church in Kinglake, razed by the Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009, has launched an appeal to fellow Anglicans nationwide.

Archbishop Philip Freier, endorsing the appeal, has written that rebuilding the church is an important stage in the healing of the bushfire devastated community.

“Your assistance will mean that the Church of St Peter, lost in the 2009 bushfires, can be built and offered to the community as a sacred space and learning centre,” Dr Freier wrote on a brochure promoting the appeal.

“I warmly encourage your prayerful and financial support of this important venture. Let us all be a part of the renewal of ministry in Kinglake and beyond.”

St Peter’s is part of the Whittlesea-Kinglake Anglican Parish led by the Revd Stephen Holmes.

The appeal seeks $120,000 towards the $850,000 cost of the proposed new church and community centre. Insurance covered $367,000 from the loss of the old church, built in 1922, while current donors have contributed $120,000, the Diocese of Melbourne and corporate donors $100,000 each and gifts in kind worth $43,000 have been provided.

The church did not receive any donations from the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal conducted after Black Saturday.

Mr Holmes, who hopes the new church will be completed by mid-2013, said any funds received in excess of the rebuilding target would be used to engage a pastoral worker based at St Peter’s Memorial Church for ministry amongst the devastated community.

“It is many years since Black Saturday and we are keen to move forward,” he said. “We have returned some of our temporary buildings to reduce ongoing costs. We want to build as soon as possible.”

A Melbourne architect is working with Mr Holmes and St Peter’s Warden and Building Committee members Wendy and Peter Crook to prepare plans for the rebuilding.

“Our desire is that the new St Peter’s will be a place of healing, peace and spiritual nourishment for the community,” Mr Holmes said. “We believe that the new building will be a symbol of hope for the future, as well as a step in the journey of reclaiming the history that was lost on Black Saturday.

“The prospect of rebuilding is an encouragement for the many people in the region who suffered great loss and are in similar circumstances, endeavouring to regain some control over the reconstruction of their lives and their homes.”

The old St Peter’s was built from locally donated materials as a memorial to those lost in World War I. It was famed for its wood panelled lining and for an altar piece painted by Miss Violet Teague in memory of five men dear to her. ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds’ depicts the Virgin Mary and the Christ child attended by two soldiers. In 1992, ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds’ was moved to St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne as a precaution against the fire risk in Kinglake and a reproduction, which also was destroyed on Black Saturday, hung in the old St Peter’s.

Download the appeal brochure PDF


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