Resurrecting the church
A 116-YEAR-OLD church has been carefully and lovingly restored thanks to Rous couple Colin and Christine Rijks.
They bought the former Anglican church and surrounding farmland on Rous Rd in 2005.
"Our intention was to restore, maintain and preserve the church," Mrs Rijks said.
"But when we bought it, we were shocked to see the state of it and realised it would cost us a lot of money.
"The front door of the church was hanging off its hinges, the guttering was falling down, white ants had gotten into the skirting boards and parts of the ceiling had caved in.
"It was almost beyond redemption."
Although the Rijks haven't added up exactly how much they have spent restoring the Rous church, they believe the figure is getting close to $100,000.
But it has been a labour of love.
"We believe this is an important part of the history of Rous," Mrs Rijks said.
"We've had fantastic help from Paul Moss and his brother David, who have done a lot of the work here.
"It's been a big job but it was definitely worth it to see what it looks like now. The church is beautiful - it was built with rainforest timbers like teak, rosewood and red cedar.
"We've also kept the original stained-glass windows, which are stunning."
Although it has been preserved as a 19th century church, it features modern facilities such as air conditioning, electrical rewiring, French chandeliers and a professional sound system.
For the first time since it was decommissioned in 1988, the church has also been given a name - Christine's Church of the Two Grandfathers.
The Rous church was first dedicated on March 16, 1897.
To celebrate its 116th birthday, the Rijks are opening the church to the public this weekend.
Mrs Rijks said the church would now be used as a non-denominational secular wedding chapel.
"Our daughter was married here last month," she said.
Christine's Church of the Two Grandfathers and gardens will open to the public on Sunday from midday until 2pm.
For information, phone Mrs Rijks on 6628 3858.