Time capsules tell of church days gone by

02:02, Aug 06 2014
rory grant, seddon st
CAPSULE CONTENTS: Timaru Presbyterian Parish's Reverend Rory Grant with items in time capsules from 1926 to 1986 found at St Paul's Church.

Last week, St Paul's Church on Seddon St was pulled down after earthquake related damage deemed it unsafe and strengthening work would have cost between $400,000 to $800,000.

When the church's spire came down, a time capsule was found in the base of the cross at the top of the steeple.

The time capsule was placed on the day the new cross was erected on February 23, 1986.

st paul's church
SPIRE RETIRED: The spire on the top of St Paul's Presbyterian Church on Seddon St was the last thing to come down during the demolition of the church.

It contained a list of people in the congregation at the time, financial accounts, order of service sheets from different years and a photo from when the cross was erected.

The old cross was made of wrought iron and had started to corrode.

It was replaced by an aluminium replica, and the original cross was mounted on the East wall of the church. The original cross has been retained by the Timaru Presbyterian Parish for future use.


A different time capsule was found in the foundation stone of St Paul's earlier in the year. It was from 1926 and contained old photos, newspaper and order of service sheets from the era.

The Reverend Rory Grant said it was nice to have the continuity with the past.

He said they hope to get all the items archived and will seal up a new time capsule for the new look St Stephen's Church on Wai-iti Rd.

The Wai-iti Rd site is being developed as the main worship centre for the Timaru Presbyterian Parish. The planning stage for the centre, office and youth facilities is expected to be finished this year with the project beginning early next year.

The new centre is intended to be multipurpose with a worship space for about 200 people, an activities hall and more parking.

The quantity surveyor advised the new building, complete with a 200 square metre hall, could be built for $2.5 million, Grant said.

Money for the project came from the sale of the Timaru Presbyterian churches of St Paul's in Seddon St and Chalmers Church in Elizabeth Place, totalling $1.4m and earlier property sales and insurance payouts of $1.3m.

While the church is being built the congregation will have to use an alternative site, with Trinity Church in College Rd being an option.

The Timaru Herald