The head of the Anglican Diocese of Perth, Archbishop Roger Herft, spoke to a group of about 30 people at St James Anglican Church on Lagoon Drive on August 30 about the proposed relocation of the church.
Archbishop Herft said the diocese planned to co-locate a church with an Anglican school and non-profit organisation Anglicare on Marmion Avenue.
The Weekender understands the Anglican Schools Commission will settle on land and announce the exact location this month.
‘As you drive past here, you recognise that there is significant growth taking place,’ Archbishop Herft said.
‘In the past, the school was built first and worship was in the school hall (but) people don’t want to worship in the school hall.
‘From day one we want a church there.
‘Why should we not take the opportunity to create a parish so young people have faith, or at least the opportunity to hear about faith?’
Resident Doug Paling said people did not want to see the church presence disappear from Yanchep, particularly as its population was also growing.
‘This has been the spiritual home of a lot of people for a very long time,’ he said.
The Archbishop said traditionally schools were built first, and churches later, but the diocese had changed its approach and planned to open the church the same day the school opened, probably in 2015.
He said the diocese had put half a million dollars into the parish over recent years to subsidise it and pay its priest, currently Reverend John Taylor, and had concerns about the condition of the building that the congregation met in.
‘It’s a tin shed ” there will not be expansion if we continue to be here,’ the Archbishop said.
‘If we don’t contemplate the future, we won’t be there when it comes.
‘To pay for a priest, you need 100 parishioners sitting in here every week, paying $25 each.’
Diocese chief executive Brian Dixon said the diocese did not intend to keep the current site, on the corner of Marmion Avenue and Lagoon Drive, but it would remain in service until the Alkimos chapel opened.
People at the meeting raised concerns about what would happen to money donated or left to the Yanchep church, and Mr Dixon said that money could be identified and kept aside for a future church in Yanchep.
Archbishop Herft said it was likely in the future there would be another two Anglican schools in the Yanchep area, with a church located at one of those.
‘Again in five to 10 years, we are doing exactly the same as we are doing in Alkimos now,’ he said.
‘We intend to do a number of these over ensuing years.’
Attendees also raised concerns about what facilities would be included in the church building, who would be responsible for its maintenance and whether the school would have outreach programs into the Yanchep community.
One woman reflected on the formative years of the church, when worship was held in the beer hall and later in a fisherman’s shack, before the current site was bought and shed installed.
Several people spoke in support of the change.
Archbishop Herft apologised to those at the meeting that the plans to relocate the church had not been communicated sooner, but added they had not wanted to build up hopes until the land purchase was finalised.