MEDIA RELEASE: Sussex Inlet 'Save Our Church Rally’

11 August 2017 

Sussex Inlet is a small community located at the George’s River Basin about 50km South East of Nowra. On Saturday 12 August, the Sussex Inlet Community Church is expected to hold a community “Save Our Church Rally.” 

Unfortunately, local media has reported misinformation about the Uniting Church, causing unnecessary distress in the local community.

The Sussex Inlet Community Church occupies a Uniting Church property as a tenant. In August 2006, Sussex Inlet Uniting Church Congregation voted to separate from the Uniting Church due to the majority of the congregation opposing the Church Assembly’s resolution to allow the ordination of ministers in a same-sex relationship.

The Sussex Inlet Uniting Church Congregation parted company with the Uniting Church in February 2007 and agreed the Community Church could commence worshipping from the Property. The rent-free lease expired on 24th January 2017.

The Synod has issued a statement to the media:

Statement 12 July - “The Uniting Church property in Sussex Inlet is not currently for sale. The Sussex Inlet Community Church is a tenant of the Uniting Church and is not a congregation of the Uniting Church, having chosen to split from the Church in the early 2000’s. 

We are discussing a number of options with members of the Community Church to remain as a tenant, including sale of the site to the Community Church, ongoing rental at concessional rates or alternative uses. At every point the Uniting Church has sought constructive dialogue with the Sussex Inlet Community Church and will continue to do so in good faith. We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached so that the Community Church can stay on as a tenant and continue to serve the local community.

It is unfortunate to see this passionate local community affected by the misinformation surrounding these negotiations.

The Uniting Church will stay committed to open talks with the Community Church to establish a way they can continue to worship on the rental premises.

The new proposed lease agreement is for a term of three years on a $12,000 per annum concessional rent, of which the Community Church has already paid $3,000.

With ongoing meetings between the Uniting Church and representatives from the Community Church, it is hoped an agreement can soon be reached.