An appeal board has overturned an order by the town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's to the local Anglican parish to repair the slowly deteriorating church.
The town declared the old building a heritage structure to prevent the parish from demolishing the building in order to build a new one.
However, the parish, which still has ownership of the building, refuses to make repairs and it has been rotting for three years.
Last year, the town ordered the parish to put the steeple back on the building and do any other necessary repairs, but the order had a number of technical flaws and an appeal board declared it invalid.
Stephen Sharpe, the chair of the committee fighting to preserve the structure, said it is only a setback.
"We have a board meeting on Monday to further discuss this — we've already had the discussion with our lawyer," Sharpe said.
"I think the main thing is that the town proceeds and does a new order to repair according to the corrections that have been pointed out to them."
Sharpe said the overall goal remains the same.
"The fact that the town has lost this particular hearing doesn't affect the fact that we are going to persevere and carry on," he said.
Sharpe said he hopes the town will soon be issuing a new, properly drafted, order of repair.