By Paul Dobbyn
BURLEIGH Waters parishioners’ dreams of a permanent place of worship have moved closer to reality.
This follows preparation of design plans for a new church by Gold Coast firm Peddle Thorp.
Parish priest Fr Ken Howell said the proposed church, able to seat 550 with the capacity to take another 100 seats, will provide a “focal point” for worship in the community. The church will be located in the precinct of Marymount primary and secondary schools and will join the parish’s four other churches.
Fr Howell said the church, intended to be the parish’s main church, had become increasingly necessary with the continued rapid growth of the parish. Burleigh Heads is now Australia’s largest parish.
“The community has looked forward to this church for many years,” he said. “At present two different Masses are held on Sunday in the Doyle Centre in Marymount College.
“And it’s not just about the building of a church. Additional parish facilities including church offices, meeting and function rooms and a presbytery will add to the whole pastoral outreach of the parish.”
Fr Howell said the latest developments are the realisation of a plan started by a previous parish priest Fr Pat Molony.
Church design committee chair Chris Kennedy said a coffee shop and community centre would be an important part of the parish’s pastoral mission.
“It is designed to be an outreach to all members of the school community in the hope they will join us as part of the worshipping community,” he said.
Peddle Thorp has designed Gold Coast churches including St Andrew’s Lutheran and also large scale public buildings including the State Library and the Caboolture Hub.
Managing director Peter Gardiner said the church’s spire will “address the existing Marymount schools very strongly”.
“It will do this by creating a focal point between the two schools,” he said.
Mr Gardiner said a development application would be lodged with Gold Coast Council in January for approval. Fr Howell said “by Easter 2015, at the latest, the new church will, with God’s help, become a reality”.