St George’s in Linwood has been demolished. Sheena, the minister, spoke of how caring and sensitive the work was carried out with the guy in charge offering a prayer and his workers coming to her seeking absolution before they started the engines of the machines! [Martin Stewart]
St George’s is a daughter of St. Paul’s Trinity Pacific parish formed as a result of an extension scheme initiated by St. Paul’s in 1912. The first services were conducted in the Oddfellows Hall in Rolleston Street, Linwood by a team of members from St. Paul’s until Mr. James Tennent from Glasgow was appointed as a Home Missionary for Linwood and surrounding districts in 1912. Soon after his arrival the section on the corner of Linwood Avenue and Gloucester Street was purchased and the Church Hall built in 1915. As membership increased the parish, with St. Paul’s assistance, petitioned the Presbytery of Christchurch to become a full charge. This acceded to the parish called the Rev. John V. Jacobson in March 1924.
The foundation stone of the new church was laid on November 28, 1925 and the ceremony took place within the half built walls of the new church. The opening reading, Psalm 84 will hold a poignancy for many today. How lovely is Thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts, to me: the Tabernacles of Thy grace how pleasant, Lord they be.
The official opening took place on May 15, 1926 and was led by the Rev. John Paterson who had given so much support to the initial establishment of the parish. As he entered the new Church, John Paterson was presented with a ‘handsome’ silver key and then duly declared the Church open. The Presbyterian Outlook gives a very detailed account of the interior of the church which is noted to be ‘as pleasing inside as it is outside’. The detail is so full that an original interior could be easily followed today,
There was an octagonal pulpit ‘with a diminishing base’ and set in its lower panels two St. Andrew’s Crosses; it sat at the extreme right of the communion platform. A description of the pews give a pleasing impression, ‘framed and panelled in figured rimu’ and the ends of the pew followed the Gothic design with a Cross and the monogram of St. George on each. How comfortable they were can only be commented on by those who sat in them regularly each Sunday.
A number of items were made and embroidered by members of the Congregation – the Communion Table scarf, pulpit cushion and Bible markers, and other items such as crystal vases and jardineres, flower pedestals, communion chairs and a wardrobe for the minister were donated by members.
Alterations to this original building have taken place on a number of occasions over the years as it has grown and absorbed other local areas into its bounds. A major project as a result of the 50th anniversary linked the Church and the Hall with a covered way and to enlarged the kitchen. Iona Presbyterian Church, Aranui came together with St. George’s in 1989 and a new impetus to the ministry began. In 1991 a rebuilding of the Church incorporating parts of the old hall and Church took place including the refurbishment of the sanctuary area altering the original appearance of the church extensively.
Many will have memories of both old and new. A message we received is one such memory I am saddened to hear that St George’s Presbyterian Church, cnr Linwood Avenue and Gloucester Street has been demolished because it was so damaged in the February 22, 2011, earthquake. I attended church and Sunday School there along with my two sisters and two brothers in the 1950s. The Reverend Irving Rutherford conducted my mother’s funeral service in 1983
The story of the floating church of Loch Sunart told to the congregation on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone by the Rev. John Kilpatrick, has an interesting ring today for the minister, members and supporters of St. George’s. Unable to secure a property the church members decided to build a place of worship on a keel of a boat and had it towed up the coast to Lock Sunart. No difficulties, he said, were insuperable when God’s people had a zeal for the worship of His house