Pastor John Wilson and members of the congregation Olive Laverty and Marie Turnbull outside the iconic Baptist Church in Lismore. The church needs to repairs to it's unusual roof.
Pastor John Wilson and members of the congregation Olive Laverty and Marie Turnbull outside the iconic Baptist Church in Lismore. The church needs to repairs to it's unusual roof. Cathy Adams

Unique church roof makes for uniquely expensive repair job

A QUICK visit from the local handyman is all it takes to fix some leaky roofs, but not the Lismore Baptist Church.

It is no ordinary building, and so the church finds itself in a rather expensive pickle.

It needs to raise $65,000 for a once-in-a-generation repair job on its iconic A-frame, which sits at the top of Uralba St above Lismore Base Hospital.

Opened in 1966, the church was constructed with a unique "exoskeleton", with six steel triangular struts holding the roof together on the outside.

The steel struts on the roof's exterior is part of what makes it unique.
The steel struts on the roof's exterior is part of what makes it unique. Cathy Adams

"We've got 60 penetrations from the frame which go through the tile roof," Pastor John Wilson said.

"Because the building is almost 47 years old, it's the sealing of those penetrations that have started to fail."

"Unfortunately it's started to stain the timber inside."

"We've had a dry summer, but as soon as the wet comes in there'll be buckets out everywhere."

"It seems like every season there's more buckets needed."

While the external structure makes the stunning hardwood ceiling inside devoid of any ugly beams, it also means the struts are exposed to the elements and repairs are particularly tricky.

INSIDE: Pastor John Wilson and members of the congregation Marie Turnbull and Olive Laverty inside the iconic Baptist Church in Lismore.
INSIDE: Pastor John Wilson and members of the congregation Marie Turnbull and Olive Laverty inside the iconic Baptist Church in Lismore. Cathy Adams

"We've been chasing our tail for the past couple of years doing temporary repairs, but in a situation like this you have got to do it properly once and for all," Pastor Wilson said. "Because it's such a unique design it's not a cheap repair. But if we don't fix it, we won't have a roof."

The struts are also showing signs of rust damage, which will need to be fixed before rust penetrates the steel.

Pastor Wilson said finding someone willing to take on the job was a challenge, and much of the cost was due to hiring an elevated platform to access the roof.

The church is hoping to generate some support and interest from the wider community to help raise funds to fix the roof.


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