7 December 2022

Congregation and community set to unite at renovated church

Parishioners celebrate St Mary’s Sunbury’s new church and community spaces. Picture: supplied.

Maya Pilbrow

2 November 2022

Parishioners at a Sunbury church have celebrated the opening of their revamped church and new community facilities.

The renovations at St Mary’s Anglican followed decades of planning to address the changing needs of the congregation and the wider Sunbury community.

The building project opened on Sunday October 23 and had been in the works for over 20 years, according to vicar, the Reverend Gavin Ward.

The new facilities include a 400-seat auditorium, a café with a commercial kitchen, secure play areas for children and temporary accommodations for those experiencing homelessness.

Church Warden and building project director Noel Sprague said the area needed that type of facility.  

Mr Sprague said the St Mary’s congregation includes many young families as well as people who use mobility devices such as wheelchairs and motorised scooters who had outgrown the old church building.

Mr Ward said services were previously held in a historic bluestone church, which remains an integral feature of the church grounds.

But the building had become unsafe and inaccessible for parishioners, he said.

Mr Sprague said parishioners had wanted for many years to expand the hall at the rear of the church but lacked funding to do so until receiving a sizeable bequest from parishioners Jack and Anne Telford in 2014.

He said the $1.25 million bequest was supplemented by funding and loans from the Diocese as well as over $800,000 raised by parishioners.

Mr Sprague said the venue’s commercial kitchen facilities, safe playing areas and disabled parking spaces made it ideal for Sunbury events.

Mr Ward said that with space for more people, St Mary’s hoped to grow its congregation in due course.

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