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By Bonny Burrows

 A small community church with a big heart has opened up their premises for same-sex weddings.
Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage, the Trust of the Pakenham Upper Community Church Hall has announced it would welcome couples of all genders and sexualities to marry in its building.
Trust member Joy Carberry said now that same-sex marriage was legal, the hunt would be one for acceptable and accepting wedding venues.
“The Trust of the Pakenham Upper Community Church Hall, a small community-owned heritage building, wishes to announce that they would welcome such weddings,” Ms Carberry said.
Ms Carberry said the trust had decided to open its doors following the decision as it represented the view of the community.
“We wouldn’t have the above-average 62 per cent acceptance rate in this area if people didn’t love and accept their gay community members,” Ms Carberry said.
“And once you accept people are born the way they are, and they don’t choose who they are, it’s like why can’t they (get married)? Most people know someone who is (LGBTIQ).
“Besides, these couples have been waiting a very long time for the opportunity to marry.”
The church hall, located on the corner of Bourke’s Creek Road and Old Gembrook Road, Pakenham Upper, was established in 1879.
Used since its beginnings as a wedding ceremony venue, many local couples have tied the knot in the premises.
However, Ms Carberry said in that recent years, it hadn’t seen as many weddings take place.
Instead, it was used primarily for the annual Christmas Eve carols, which sees the church and its grounds packed with community members ringing in the festive season.
“It’s a shame it’s not used a lot for weddings. It’s a beautiful building, and we’d like to see it used more,” Ms Carberry said.
“And the hall is nearby, which was used a lot for wedding receptions, it’s really quite perfect.”
She hopes that by opening the church to all, new life will be brought back into the premises.
It is also hoped that the hosting of more events would assist the trust in paying the church hall’s regular expenses, totalling in excess of $1000 per year.
“But really we just want to see the community use and enjoy it,” Ms Carberry said.
The Pakenham Upper Community Church Hall is available for hire for weddings from a cost of $150. Floral decorations can also be arranged by the trust for a small additional fee.
The church hall seats 70.
Anyone interested in hiring the Church Hall can contact Joy Carberry on 5942 7298 or 0439 427 298.
 

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