St Barnabas is now safely in community hands - you can find details of services and contact details on the new website here>

A vital step cleared for community ownship of St Barnabas - 24 March 2022

A crucial part of the change of ownership has now been completed with the Community Church of St Barnabas - South Arm Inc.gaining approval as the new Cemetery Manager.

This allows for the sale process with the Anglican Diocese be finalised with a planned April settlement date.

Terry Roe JP
Director  |  Board of Management.
Community Church of St Barnabas - South Arm Inc.
Mobile: 0400 140 870

Update on sale of St Barnabas to the Community - 9 March 2022

Without going back over old issues, the current situation is very positive and it is expected St Barnabas will be owned by the community within the next 2 months.

As you may be aware, the delay in the process of sale was caused initially by the issues surrounding Covid 19, and then by the action of the Howrah Parish in August 2021 to overturn the Diocese's decision regarding the sale.

Following the re-establishment of the sale process in late November 2021, several issues had to be revisited before our application for management of the cemetery would be accepted by the Tasmanian Government. It was necessary for the 3 officers of the Board of Management to re-apply for current Police checks, as those previously submitted had expired. An insurance cover note also had to be re-negotiated. On the 7th March, our application to become Cemetery Managers, along with several other documents required by the Tasmanian Government Department was re-submitted, and accepted.

On Tuesday 8th March, the Board received from the Senior Policy and Project Officer, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, an email advising us that our application appears in order and it will commence the process of obtaining the Regulator's approval. Under the Act, this should occur within 21 days.

Without pre-empting a timeline, and presuming that no other obstacles delay the sale, it is likely that St Barnabas will officially become a community church, owned by the Board of Management of the Community Church of St Barnabas - South Arm Inc on behalf of the community of South Arm and Opossum Bay, by April/May of this year.

Terry Roe JP
Board of Management.
Community Church of St Barnabas - South Arm Inc.
Mobile: 0400 140 870

UPDATE 27 August 2021

Anglican Diocese reneges on agreement to sell St Barnabas Church and Cemetery to the community.

At the AGM for the Community Church of St Barnabas South Arm Inc on Friday 27th August, the decision by the Anglican Diocese to withdraw from the agreement to sell was shared.

The reasons stated by the Diocese for this decision were;

  1. There could be an obstacle regarding the Trust from the original conveyance of the property by the Gellibrand family in 1850.
  2. The current leadership of the Parish of Clarence South believe that there is strong potential for future growth of the church in the area, and that the best way to facilitate this growth is for St Barnabas to be retained.

The following is a snap shot of the process to date:

  • In 2018 St Barnabas Church and cemetery were included in the list of properties to be sold by the Anglican Diocese to fund the local Parish's share of redress for historical abuse by the organisation.
  • A Working Party was formed in June 2018, and the members were tireless in their efforts to secure community ownership. Agreement to negotiate was finally achieved in December 2018.
  • Funds were raised through pledges and fund raising events, and the community's offer was accepted in principle, (and in writing), on Tuesday 3rd March 2020.
  • A new body was incorporated to take the church through the sale and into the future.
  • An enormous amount of work was then done to achieve governmental approval to become Cemetery manager, to work through the cemetery audit, and to set up all the governance and future plans for our community church.
  • The congregation grew with news that St Barnabas would soon become a non-denominational Christian church, and weekly morning services were introduced, and well supported
  • The church was de-consecrated on June 13th by the Parish Minister, Jamie Bester.
  • Terms and conditions on a contract of sale were agreed to.
  • All correspondence and contact with the Diocese and the Parish up until August 19th 2021 indicated that the sale was progressing and the contract of sale was imminent.

A meeting of the Board of Management was called for the 23rd August by Judson Williams ( Diocesan Redress Project Manager), and Jamie Bester (Parish Minister). At this meeting, the Board was informed that at a special meeting of the Parish Council of Clarence South on 17th August, the decision was made not to sell St Barnabas.

At all times over the last 3+ years, negotiations have been ongoing with the Diocese. At no time during this lengthy and onerous process has there been any indication that the sale would not go ahead. The congregation believed that this was a foregone conclusion, and were again told that the sale was imminent when the formal de-consecration of the church took place during a service taken by the Minister, Jamie Bester, on June 13th 2021.

The reasons stated do not warrant this sudden, unheralded and radical change for the future of St Barnabas. Ministry plans, the growth of the congregation, and anticipation for the future of the church were all based on St Barnabas becoming a Community Church. Many people have commented that this expectation was the reason for their return to worship.

Most worrying is the lack of a firm commitment from the Parish and the Minister, that a future sale could not be precluded should numbers decline.

The work on purchase and ministry undertaken by the volunteer groups to date was done FOR THE COMMUNITY - it was not done for the Diocese and the Parish to come in and take over, benefitting from all the hard work that has been done and all the achievements made.

The community is once more feeling that we have no say in our future, and are disappointed and distressed at this decision.

The Board of Management will be meeting to decide on a strategy going forward.

Should you wish to write a letter to express your thoughts and opinions on the decision, please send it to all the following email addresses;

Signed. Terry Roe JP Director, Board of Management, St Barnabas. Mobile: 0400 140 870

Please note that as was indicated at the start of this campaign, identifiable donations will be returned to the donors should the sale not go through. Any remaining funds from events and other fund-raising activities will be directed to other community projects in consultation with local groups and community members.