Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Fire at Saint Bridget's Ballan

Here are some pictures  Taken  just before 8 this morning as Ballan awoke to the news that Saint Bridget's  church had been burnt out by fire during the night.  The CFA and Police had closed the roads around St Bridget's and a group was gathering along Inglis Street opposite the church. The wet, low-cloud morning had taken away the smell of the smoke and the building resembled the community it had exited for; its heart burnt out and the fragile shell a symbol of what had been.

A lady approached the road-block in her car and seeing the group assembling on the roundabout asked what was happening. As the group pointed to the gutted shell  the driver began to cry, "we have lost our priest and now we have lost our church".  The crowd included many for the nearby Anglican church who had come to lend support and provide  offers of hospitality. The Business Manager from the Catholic Archdiocese was there as was  the Anglican Bishop's Chaplain  who offered the help and support of the Anglican Bishop of Ballarat, the Rt Rev'd Michael Hough. The two bishops had a conversation later in the day where support was again pledged along with the offer of the congregation of St Bridget's using the Ballan  Anglican Church and buildings for as long as needed.

Retired Anglican Bishop John Stewart who leads worship at Ballan once a month and will be leading  the Easter services, also visited Ballan. Bishop Stewart met with the Principle of St Bridget's primary School offering his help and support. 

A meeting is being held at 5 PM in Ballan today with Bishop Peter to look at the way forward. Ballarat Anglican churches have been asked to offer special prayers today and through the week for the people of St Bridget's.

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