End of an era
By BELINDA SCOTT
SUNDAY will be New Year's Day for everybody, but the end of an era for three people who make up the tiny congregation of All Saints' Anglican Church at Upper Orara.
Val Davis is one who has been attending the country church regularly since about 1978. She will be in the congregation on Sunday for the last time.
At 9am on Sunday a final farewell celebration Anglican service will be held at the timber church, followed by morning tea in the Upper Orara Hall next door.
Everyone who has attended All Saints and members of their families are invited to the service and morning tea, which the Orara Valley Anglican Parish wants to see as a celebration of the people who have been involved with the little wooden church, 16km west of Coffs Harbour, since it was dedicated in 1910.
Mrs Davis lived across the road from the church for many years and her late husband, Bill, was the Anglican minister there.
She said 20 years ago All Saints was 'like one big happy family' but the congregation had gradually dwindled from a crowd of about 20 to only three 'regulars' with a few visitors.
"People got older or left the district," Mrs Davis said.
"Some retired to town and went to services elsewhere, some died or went into nursing homes, and we didn't get many new people. I don't think the services attracted them ? people don't feel very comfortable with just a few people ? maybe they feel more comfortable in a bigger congregation."
Mrs Davis is one who has moved to Coffs Harbour, but has been travelling out to All Saints every Sunday.
Orara Valley Anglican Church Minister Bill Carroll said the Anglican Church had not moved to close or sell All Saints, which would continue to be used for weddings, baptisms and funerals, but the cost of maintaining such a building was becoming prohibitive, when there were so few people to support it.