A steeple has proudly stood at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Wollongong for 55 years.
But in coming weeks, the symbol of piety on Crown Street will be demolished.
One of the church wardens Brian Bradley said whilst it was sad to see the historical structure go, he and parishioners were excited to see the new steeple erected.
“The steeple is more than 50 years old and the method used to attach the concrete panels to the steel frame is deteriorating,” he said.
“About 16 years ago the parish put bolts through the panels into the framework but the framework has corroded over the years.
“The steeple is structurally unsound.
“A new ‘re-imagined steeple’ will be built in its place.”
Mr Bradley said the demolition was planned for next week but that start date had been delayed until the builder works out the best method to take it down.
“Whilst the steeple comes down the church will be a no go zone,” he said. “No other tradesman can work on the site until the demolition is complete. Hopefully we will have a confirmed start date next week .”
The new steeple will be the same height and shape as the original. Three A-shaped steel frames will be erected one behind the other to form a triangle shape and there will be a cross on top.
A new foyer will also be built as an extension to the existing church building.
“We are seeking to open up the church,” Mr Bradley said. “We want the church to feel more open and welcoming. The foyer will provide a space for our playgroup, Bible study group, English for Life class and parishioners to meet, learn and follow God. Our church is alive and growing not dead and buried."
St Mark’s hosts three services on a Sunday and there are about 300 parishioners.
Mr Bradley said the parishioners were looking forward to work starting because it had been a long process to get to this stage.
“Many parishioners are excited because they contributed funds to the project,” he said. “Parishioners donated more than $1 million and the rest was borrowed from the bank.”
The building works will cost $1.84 million.
“We have the support of the parish because we are not just constructing a steeple,” Mr Bradley said. “This is an exercise in Christian ministry and we are doing it for the glory of God.”
In 1939, 429 Crown Street was purchased to be the ultimate site of a new Parish Church and Hall. The foundation stone of a brick church was laid in 1943 and the Church of England at West Wollongong was called St Marks.
Growth in the area prompted the need for the church to be enlarged and the foundation stone for the current church was laid and complete in 1963.