IN JUNE the congregation of Lilydale Uniting Church handed over the keys of the Lilydale Church property to the CEO of Melba Support Services.
The church and Melba had been involved in discussions for some months when the Lilydale property was earmarked for sale by the Uniting our future program at the end of 2013.
Melba Support Services had been closely associated with the Lilydale Church since 1973 –Melba began with a support group for parents of children with a disability in the church hall.
Lilydale UC was seeking a partnership with a social justice organisation and Melba seemed the right ‘fit’.
When the synod’s financial target was met, the property was withdrawn from sale.
The congregation then sought permission from synod to continue discussions with Melba regarding their acquisition of the property, including their intent to build affordable housing units for people with a disability.
With support from property experts within the Uniting our future team, the sale was negotiated and a licence agreement has been entered into for the Lilydale Uniting Church congregation to continue worshipping on the site.
“The congregation are especially excited at the prospect of an ongoing relationship with Melba,” Congregation chairperson Brenda McMinn said.
“When the keys were officially handed over to Melba it felt as though we had come full circle, as they initially began in our church hall more than 40 years ago.
“Subsequently Melba has grown into a well-known and respected community services organisation, managing residential and day programs that support people with a disability in the local area.”