St. Paul’s Trinity Pacific Church is one of the oldest Presbyterian parishes in Christchurch.  Formed seven years after the establishment of  the first Presbyterian Church, St. Andrew’s  it became a formal charge in January 1864.  By 1866 the congregation purchased one acre of land in Lichfield Street for the sum of £150 and a church was opened almost free of debt on 19th May 1867.  Ten years later under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. John Elmslie work began on building a bigger and grander church, opened on October 31, 1877.  Designed by Mr. S.C. Farr, popular Christchurch architect it cost around £12 000, a considerable cost at that time .  The interior, although restrained in a Presbyterian fashion, is rather lovely.  It had a fine organ and throughout its history the choir was considered to be of a high standard.

This church building has served the congregation every since.  In the last couple of years tragedy struck congregation, first with an arson attack on the church in August 2008  that badly damaged the interior.  The members rose to the occasion with confidence and determination to overcome their difficulties.   The decision to renovate was taken and work begun only to be delayed with the first earthquake last September when the further damage occurred.  Today, sadly,  it would appear that this beautiful church that has been the spiritual home for so many over its 130 odd years may no longer serve that purpose.  I know personally what pride the present congregation take in their Church and this will be a bitter blow to them.

St Paul's Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church after the earthquake
St. Paul's in the foreground, diagonally opposite the Canterbury TV building that collapsed.

These photos and others of the Christchurch quake can be found on the Stuff web site

Messages can be sent to this email.

by Yvonne


  1. After the 2008 fire, salvageable parts of the organ were removed for rebuilding. It was in the South Island Organ Co shop when the earthquake destroyed the building. The organ rebuild is nearly complete, but it no longer has a home.


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