St. Mary’s Anglican Church - New Extensions & Refurbishments
To the MNDCF Board members:
I was reflecting briefly with Derrick Ehmke the other day about the value of the new buildings and extensions at St. Mary’s and commented that none of it would have happened had the MNDCF Board not granted us $2000 to get preliminary plans drawn up by an architect! So this letter is by way of a BIG “Thank You”.
Almost from the time that I arrived in the Parish I was faced with the need, expressed by many, for new toilets at the church because the old ones were too small, not suitable for people with disabilities, and had to be accessed from outside in all weathers.
Initial plans had been drawn up some years earlier to possible build toilets where the bell tower (and new deck) is now. This had been shelved because of a lack of funds and uncertainty about that site. Other sketch plans were begun by us for a suggested new toilet block approximately where they are now, but they were much more expensive (with a wide cost range depending on the builder used) than we could afford - i.e. we had no money! So again we shelved the ideas.
However, watching people - particularly elderly persons - literally fall UP the steps into the Ladies toilet caused us to petition the South Gippsland Shire Council to be allowed to build ‘temporary’ ramps to the male and female toilets. This was granted, and those ramps remained ‘temporary’ for almost four years! In this time the MNDCF granted us $2000 to draw up plans that started out as a new toilet block at the rear of the church. There was a lot of disagreement about how this should look, and what else could we possibly do to alleviate the necessity of going out in the weather to access the toilets, but again finances were the constraint.
Because of a number of building issues, and perhaps for personal reasons, the architect quit the task of continuing with our plans, and a new architect was engaged. This proved much more fruitful, although - as usual - there was much angst along the way on all sides. More plans, and more altered plans! Other plans had also been afoot for a few years which culminated in the deconsecration of Christ Church, Mardan South, which was part of this Parish, on 2nd December 2012. In the fullness of time this realised sufficient funds for us to continue the planning, building and completion of the refurbishment project. Over the course of time the project grew to include not just toilets, but a new foyer, two useable storage room, a redeveloped and enlarged kitchen, and an outdoor deck - as well as a host of extra tasks which it made sense to complete while the builders and a host of tradies were on the property, including painting the exterior of the church to match the new build, the inside ceilings of the church, moving the stained glass memorial windows to the front of the new foyer, tiling the front porch, and the installation of new front doors.
At the Official Opening on Sunday 24th April 2016 we dedicated the new Mardan South Foyer and the Neville Beaty Hall, remembering particular persons who had given a lot, in different ways, to the completion of the project.
I am writing this lengthy ‘acquittal’ to show that from small things (your Grant) big things can grow. Many thanks from all associated with St. Mary’s and all that will use our facilities.
Rev. Geoff Pittaway - Rector