St Luke’s Anglican Church at Miranda chose to serve God ahead of Mammon in 1973 when the parish council rejected a developer’s $1 million offer for its Kingsway site near Miranda Fair.
“The church stands for the fact man does not live by bread alone,’’ explained the rector, Reverend Keith Gowan.
“We would not move out for any price.”
The developer was not named, but was possibly associated with Westfield or a rival.
At the time of the offer, Miranda Fair, which opened in 1964, was contained on the western side of Kiora Road.
Westfield purchased Miranda Fair for $10 million in 1969 and doubled it in size in a project which was completed in 1971.
In a further expansion, completed in 1992, the Westfield complex spread to the other side of Kiora Road, next to St Luke’s.
Mr Gowan said when the church site was chosen in 1898 it was predicted it would one day sit within the centre of a large town.
“This shows the wisdom of our forefathers,” he said.
The original church was weatherboard and cost $160 to build in 1899.
“I think they had their spiritual value then much better than we have today,” Mr Gowan said.
Mr Gowan said churches should look for strategic positions in the same way commercial interests did.
“We have lawns and open space and must preserve them,” he said.
St Luke’s still finds money can be useful. As well as leasing land for a service station, the church sold a small strip in the 1980s to facilitate a new car park for the expanding Westfield centre.
The proceeds enabled St Luke’s to extend a building, move the minister’s quarters off site and complete a new church at Ulladulla.
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