Seismic rating spurs sale of church
St Paul's Methodist Church in Waimate is on the market.
The sale has been forced because of a seismic report, spiralling insurance fees and congregation numbers.
Church administrator Christine Bailey said the seismic report was below Methodist Church of New Zealand recommendations. "We were just too small to be able to upgrade it."
The church building and hall came up to 34 per cent of the building standard, she said.
Closure of the church hall also limited income as public groups had previously used it.
"It was helping our bank balance and we lost income when we lost use of the hall. We couldn't have survived if we had stayed there."
The congregation has moved to the Waimate Community Centre in Queen St.
"We're a bit sad that we have lost the building and the fact it might disappear."
Norman West, the Methodist Church co-superintendent of the Central South Island Synod, said the sale was a good decision in terms of maintenance issues.
The Church required all buildings to be brought up to 67 per cent of the building standard.
The church building was erected in 1888 after brothers John and George Manchester, whose family had been associated with Methodism from its start in Waimate, offered the Glasgow St site to the church. The hall was built in 1928 and two wings were added to the hall in 1958.
St Paul's has not had a fulltime minister since 1988, and then had half-time ministries until 2002.
The congregation has since been led by visiting preachers, retired Methodist and Presbyterian ministers, and lay preachers. The Glasgow St property is 1897 square metres and has a capital value of $280,000.
- The Timaru Herald