Seddon church to be demolished
The St Andrew's Presbyterian Church building in Seddon is to be demolished in just a few weeks because of earthquake damage.
The church, built in 1955, has not been used by its large congregation since the severe earthquakes that rocked area in July and August last year. The Rev Dawn Daunauda said the demolition would be an emotional experience for the congregation and the wider community.
She said the decision to demolish the church building came after months of consultation and was not made lightly.
"The decision was made on April 13. It was unanimous, which was really good."
The building sustained severe damage in both major quakes, making repairs unfeasible.
The church management team had been working with the Marlborough District Council, Simcox Construction and the national Presbyterian Property Trust.
"They have all been so supportive. Council waived the demolition fee, which was very generous, and Simcox have done a special deal for us for the demolition work. Simcox have been great," Daunauda said.
The demolition crew would work with church management during the demolition to save whatever parts of the building they could.
Unfortunately, the stained glass windows cannot be saved as work to remove them would be too expensive because of the structural damage the building had sustained, Daunauda said.
Demolition project manager Chris Hollingum, of Simcox Construction, said the work would take a day to a day and a half to complete but a date had not been set.
"They will hand the church over to us after the final service but it could be a couple of weeks afterwards before we do the demolition," he said.
The congregation had been worshiping at the Catholic church in Seddon since St Andrew's was declared off limits. The coming together of the two denominations had been an unexpected but very welcome outcome of the disaster that struck the township.
Long-time St Andrew's member Helen Neame said the help the Catholic church had given them had been invaluable. "We have been so generously accepted at the Catholic church, and having that security of a place to worship each week has allowed us leeway when planning for the future because their isn't an immediate rush for a new church building," she said.
St Andrew's management had been looking at alterations to their church building in the months leading up to the earthquakes. "We just have to look at this as an opportunity," Daunauda said.
A final service will be held in the church on Sunday from 2.30pm.
The Marlborough Express