LONG ROAD: Uniting Church parishioner Sybil Medew sits among the furniture and things that were once in the building that was condemned and removed after a tornado ripped through Tiaro on January 3, 2018.
LONG ROAD: Uniting Church parishioner Sybil Medew sits among the furniture and things that were once in the building that was condemned and removed after a tornado ripped through Tiaro on January 3, 2018. Boni Holmes

Tiaro church's future is in limbo

IT HAS been one blow after another for the parishioners of Tiaro's Uniting Church.

On January 3 last year, a freak storm hit the small town damaging only the water tower, which has now been replaced and moved the 135-year-old church off its stumps.

Loyal parishioner since the '80s Sybil Medew, who visited the church the day after the storm, said the church was a mess and had slid "12 feet off the stumps".

 

 

 

The morning after January 4, 2018 when a freak tornado blew the Tiaro Uniting Church 12 feet off its stumps.
The morning after the January 3, 2018 tornado. contributed

 

 

"There were stumps up through the floor, the church was leaning the other way and it has a big whoop in the other side," she said.

"We couldn't even get the door open after the tornado hit.

"Only the church building was damaged - even the organ stayed standing.

"We didn't know what we were going to do for church."

The church was eventually assessed and was to be demolished and removed.

The condemned church went up for tender and found a new home out at Victory Village.

In the interim, the Catholic Church donated their church while parishioners moved everything into their hall.

 

The original Uniting Church in Tiaro.
The original Uniting Church in Tiaro. Boni Holmes

 

 

"As a result of the church being removed we have had to use the hall to store our pews and stuff so we cannot hire the hall out to groups like arts and crafts and yoga, dances etc," Mrs Medew said.

The 25 parishioners were then asked by the church to justify why they needed a church.

Mrs Medew set about campaigning around the district collecting letters of support and signatures.

Two weeks after submitting the letters of support, they were told it wasn't enough.

"We have spent the last 12 months putting this together and now we need something completely different," she said.

"This is what we were asked to do and now we cannot submit this as part of our request.

"The church now wants letters to support how often a group or organisation will use the church and for what purpose. We are trying to get that together."

 

Tiaro parishioner Sybil Medew stands where the side door to the Uniting Church used to be before a freak tornado blew the building 12 feet off its stumps.
Sybil Medew stands where the side door to the Uniting Church used to be before a freak tornado blew the building 12 feet off its stumps. Boni Holmes

 

 

Mrs Medew has approached other churches and local businesses, receiving plenty of positive feedback in their quest to apply to have a church rebuilt.

"We would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in using the building," she said.

"This is the hard part - we don't have a building to offer but we are trying to get people to say yes we will use something that is not there yet."

Mrs Medew said for 135 years this institution has been a significant cornerstone of Tiaro and surrounding districts.

"It has been the hub of countless significant gatherings over the decades where the community has gathered in both joy and sorrow," she said.

"As a growing community Tiaro needs this church to be rebuilt and fully support this endeavour."

For more information or for prospective users phone Mrs Medew on 41233379.