One last chance to visit a Riverina country church before it begins its next stage of usage will be offered this weekend.
St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Balldale, a red brick building that opened in 1962 to replace the original timber church, has been put on the market.
Corowa Presbyterian Church minister Richard Keith said regular services ended more than six years ago and the church was last used for a wedding in 2018.
After a consultation with the Balldale community and former St Stephen's members, the decision was made to sell the property.
Reverend Keith said he had been nervous about discussing the issue, but Balldale community members proved very understanding.
"There was no real opposition to the sale," he said.
"In fact, there was some excitement about putting an unused building to better use and about possibly attracting a new family to the town in the process."
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St Stephen's Presbyterian Church sits on a Kavanagh Street block of about 2000sq m and is zoned rural - village by Federation Council, like other Balldale residential properties.
People are invited to walk through the church with its pews and pulpit still in place on Sunday, June 20, between noon and 2pm, with a cup of tea to follow in the Balldale recreation hall.
Reverend Keith said the church had been valued by the families who attended but the building did not have a lot of heritage importance.
"It did its job and it did it well," he said.
"But it's time for it to begin a new phase as a family home."
Corowa's Cath Wilson, who lived in Balldale for 60 years, remembers attending the building's first service.
"The old church (now demolished) was still there, so they just went one Sunday to the old church and next Sunday to the new church," she said. "I thought it was lovely."
Fundraising for the project had begun in 1937, with many garden parties, tennis tournaments and flower shows needed over the years.
St Stephen's celebrated its centenary in 2012, but by then numbers had declined.
"From the start of the 2000s it was getting smaller and smaller and then we would have a monthly service, it just dwindled out," Mrs Wilson said.
"When you think at the Sunday School once there were 100 children....different days.
"It's sad to see the old times gone, that is the sadness, but look, there's a future, you've got to have hope.
"I believe that if anybody wants to start a church enough, they'll find a place to have it."
Sunday's event will prompt memories, but potential buyers are welcome to walk through as well.
"Either way; it's open for people who want to come with a tape measure," Mrs Wilson said with a laugh.
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