THE century-old wooden beams at St John’s Anglican Church are etched with spiritual and physical history – now a large split threatens the Wagga landmark.
The large pine trusses are surrounded by scaffolds as structural engineers determine the future of the heritage building.
Leanne Diessel’s family have attended the beautiful church since 1848, now unable to worship there due to safety concerns Mrs Diessel feels an enormous sense of loss.
The church was closed indefinitely last week.
Large scaffolds now overshadow the beautiful altar, a hint at the enormous and daunting task the potential restoration would be.
Holding back tears, Mrs Diessel was greatly concerned about the future of St John’s.
“My aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents were all married here.
“I was baptised here…my four children were confirmed here.”
Outgoing Wagga Anglican rector Michael Armstrong noticed the large cracks in the timber trusses when he was lying down praying.
Structural engineering firm Xeros Piccolo were called in – a report, identifying the extent of the damage is underway.
Father Armstrong expressed strong concern about the future of the building, highlighting its significance.
“We bury family members, we wed them, baptise them – memories of all life’s events locally and far away (are etched in the building).
“At this stage repair is what we would like to see.”
Father Armstrong said parishes across the world were grappling with the same question - whether to spend huge money to repairing old, historic buildings or to inject funds to “help people”.
Mrs Diessel, who sings at the church every week, said services held in the parish meeting room were not the same.
“It’s sort of like home. It’s place that doesn’t change, that feels comforting.”
The original church, built in 1846, was demolished and replaced with the current building on 1875.
“I hope we’d be able to raise money to repair it,” Mrs Diessel said.
“It’s not just something for the Anglicans, when St Michael’s was built, the support wasn’t just from Catholics, all sorts of people contributed.
“I’m sad at the uncertainty.”
Father Armstrong urged parishioners to remain calm.