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Breaking a forty year drought

Friday 2 November 2018

A new church is born… the first in the Christchurch Diocese for nearly 40 years.

All Souls Church, in the Parish of Merivale St Albans, is the first new Anglican suburban church to be built from scratch, from foundations to zenith, in 40 years. The congregation are celebrating the milestone and view it as a symbol of hope and renewal.

This weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday, All Souls’ Church, situated on the corner of Church Lane and Papanui Rd, is opening its doors. The brand new church building is the reason for the “Community Fun Day” and on Sunday the first worship services will be held there.

Starting at 9am on Saturday (until 1pm) anyone can come and see the new church, eat sausages and candyfloss, and buy goodies from the market stalls. This Sunday, services will be at 8am, 10am and a special celebratory Evensong service at 4pm attended by Bishop-elect Peter Carrell.

“Regardless of your faith or view of life, this new church building is another milestone to celebrate,” says Ross Seager, CPT Recovery Office Manager. “Apart from the Transitional Cathedral, it’s the first new church building to be built for nearly forty years which is such a great feeling. The building is captivating – a marriage of old and new – it has a modern design to be functional, but has stained glass windows recovered from both the old St Matthew’s and St Mary’s churches. Walking inside the building and looking up is a true delight.”

Vicar Megan Herles-Mooar agrees. “Yes, it’s fantastic, and we are all so excited, to bring the ‘Church’ back into ‘Church Lane’. But the best thing is, now we can get on, invigorated with new energy, with the work of sharing Christ’s love for, and within, our community. It’s been such a long time since any formal worship took place in a building on this site – so we are coming together and getting to know the new site, welcoming new faces and journeying together, creating something new. The process of creating this Church, has changed us. One of the driving principles for us has been the desire to create a space where everyone is welcome; to have a place where around one table all may gather. We have the building, now the work of loving and caring for our community continues,” says Rev’d Herles-Mooar.

It took some time to get here. A replacement facility for the demolished church was discussed quite soon after the quakes, but then the Merivale and St Albans Parishes merged and building discussions went on hold while they came to terms with what the new parish looked like and needed. Now the building is complete, it includes a light-filled conical chapel at the entrance. This opaque structure houses the magnificent reclaimed stained glass windows. As well as the Chapel, it includes a worship space, large hall, fully equipped kitchen, a smaller hall and a meeting room.

Although there has been a church on this site since 1866, the beautiful old stone church, St Mary’s Merivale, was built in 1926. As was the way with many of our older buildings, it was damaged beyond repair in 2010. While many damaged churches in Christchurch have been repaired or refurbished, this church is the only Anglican one to date that has been demolished and rebuilt in situ. This is a first for Church Property Trustees (CPT) Recovery Team and a highlight for their year.

The parish and CPT would particularly like to thank architects Warren and Mahoney, builders Higgs Construction, and the suite of sub-contractors and consultants who worked on this project.


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