Timaru church improvements dedicated at special Sunday service
The lights shone brightly at Timaru's St Mary's Church on Sunday as $150,000 worth of improvements were officially dedicated.
The church's new lights, wiring and stained glass window covers were completed as part of the 100-year restoration project in 2003.
The building's incandescent lighting had been updated with LCD (liquid crystal display) lantern lights, a change that was expected to reduce the church's electricity bill by about 60 per cent.
Special protective screens had also been added to the church's 35 stained glass windows, while extensive rewiring had also been carried out.
READ MORE: St Mary's Church to see more modern light
The work was interrupted after the church was closed in February 2012, over concerns for the safety of parishioners following the Canterbury earthquakes, so was not ready for the Church's centenary as planned in 2009. The church was re-opened in June 2015 after engineers deemed it safe.
Reverend John Shoaf said plexi glass was added to contain the window, to prevent glass hitting parishioners in case it shattered during an earthquake.
"The main body of the church is very strong."
He said about 90 people attended the celebratory lighting dedication on Sunday, including Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew and Mayor Damon Odey, along with a few councillors and parishioners.
"The (new) lights are much brighter and warmer than the old ones. . .They make the stone prettier and are kinder to the skin."
Twenty hanging pendulum lanterns are keeping in style with the era of the church and spotlights make the wooden ceiling design easier to see.
Groups of the new lights could be switched on or off to highlight a particular area for worship and concerts, Shoaf said.
In a speech dedicating the new lights, Restoration Trust chairman Ray Bennett thanked the Timaru businesses that had played a part in making the work possible.
Bennett said all of the firms had in one way or another carried out the work at a lower cost, either by not charging for early stages or simply by charging less.
"Where else other than Timaru could we find such co-operation and generosity? All this goes to show that we have the expertise and the resources in South Canterbury to handle the work."