Farewell for church

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2011
PRAISED PAST: Bishop Victoria Matthews consoles Beryl Dineen at the deconsecrated Holy Trinity Church on Stanmore Road. At right is Dineen's husband, Ray.
DON SCOTT/ The Press
PRAISED PAST: Bishop Victoria Matthews consoles Beryl Dineen at the deconsecrated Holy Trinity Church on Stanmore Road. At right is Dineen's husband, Ray.

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One of Christchurch's oldest churches has been deconsecrated after being badly damaged in the earthquakes.

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Avonside was designed by Benjamin Mountfort and was consecrated in 1857. It was deconsecrated by Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews yesterday before planned demolition.

Church committee member Tony Humphreys said he had a "soft spot" for it. "I got married in this church ... It is very meaningful for me. It is very sad to see it go," he said. "I was looking at my wedding photos the other day. It looked beautiful."

Humphreys said the church had connections with early Christchurch. William Rolleston, Mountfort and Julius von Haast are buried in its cemetery.

The building is in the orange zone, on land identified by the Government as requiring more research to see whether it can be economically repaired.

Humphreys said any new church would be of modern design.

"We are not going to go for a rebuild. We are going for a more modern place with meeting rooms, offices and a lot more flexibility. It will be much more modern," he said.

For Beryl Dineen, 68, yesterday's ceremony was a "very sentimental moment".

She had been a regular at the church since her family moved to Christchurch in 1945, and was confirmed there in 1955 and married there in 1967. "We always go to the church on our wedding anniversary," she said.

Two of her three sisters were married there, while brother Earl Stick, who died in the February quake, was a server and helped with repair work.

"My parents loved that church because it reminded them of England," she said. "Hopefully there'll be something beautiful come out of that space."

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- The Press

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