After years of being closed due to quake damage, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church has opened it’s doors and is holding services again.
The church was opened in 1874 and sustained damage after the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.
Parish councillors Maureen Maginness and Ross Thomson said the church was closed a few years after the quake because it required strengthening work.
The work didn’t take long to complete but the wait for the work to begin was a long time coming, however Ross is philosophical about the time it took.
‘‘The building is owned by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church property trustees, and of course there were many churches of this vintage affected by the earthquakes, so the Presbyterian church property trustees have had a fairly full portfolio.
‘‘In addition to that the engineers who were required to plan, certify and manage the strengthening process were in pretty short supply after 2011, so we were lining up after a lot of other people that need the work done.’’
The work started in October 2022. ‘‘The actual project of strengthening itself was only about a six or seven month project, so therewas seven years in the planning and seven months in the doing,’’ Ross said.
‘‘There was a lot of steel that went into it, a lot of screws, the brick and timber are all screwed in, the amount of concrete that was poured into the gaps in the walls and the foundations,’’ he said.
The work increased the strength of the church from 34 percent NBS to 67 percent NBS.
‘‘Bradfords Building who undertook the work did a wonderful job,’’ Ross said.
The church is currently missing its spire which was originally installed in the 1960’s.
‘‘But since then had been leaking quietly behind the scenes rotting the floor and the piles. It is part of the future plan to return the spire, but only when it can be put up secularly and safely so the building is protected,’’ Ross said.
The church strengthening project was funded by bequests and reutilizing existing church property.
While the church was closed the parishioners held their services in the Sinclair Centre next to the church.
The Sinclair Centre has a large hall with a stage, meeting and function rooms and a commercial kitchen which are available for hire by the room or complex.
Maureen said ‘‘the parishioners are very happy to be back in the church.’’
Ross described it as their spiritual home. ‘‘We’re home again and I think everyone is very pleased and we have a very skilled organist.’’
The church is known for its excellent acoustics, the organ has been refurbished and Ashburton College head of music Stephen Diedricks plays it during services.
The church is having a Thanksgiving and rededication service on August 20, and Maureen said everyone is welcome.
‘‘The wider community are welcome to attend, its open to everybody in the community.’’