Last prayers at St Paul's

Opportunity to grieve loss of church

JACQUIE WEBBY
Last updated 05:00 20/01/2014
St Paul's Presbyterian Church
OISIN DUKE/Fairfax NZ

END OF AN ERA: The Rev Dr Susan Jones addresses the parishioners at the deconsecration of St Paul's Presbyterian Church.

ken linscott
RESCUED TREASURE: Ken Linscott carries a cross from St Paul's Presbyterian Church, followed by worship leader, Reverend Rory Grant.

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Parishioners of St Paul's Presbyterian Church have said a final goodbye to their church which was decommisioned yesterday.

The service of Thanksgiving and Decommissioning was led by the Rev Rory Grant with parish preacher, the Rev Dr Susan Jones.

Addressing the congregation gathered on the lawn at the back of the church, Mr Grant said "the building is not the church, the church is the people".

After the service sacramental symbols of worship were carried from the church to the neighbouring church hall.

These included the brass Bible stand and the pulpit Bible, the communion table fall (cloth), the baptisimal font bowl, music books and the cross.

Dr Jones said the "treasures team" had been busy working through the list of items that have been recovered from within the building.

"Yesterday's decommissioning service also gives parishioners an opportunity to grieve over the loss of their church," she said.

The service ended with the symbolic handing over of the key to the clerk of Timaru's Presbyterian parish, Ken Falconer.

The parish put the church and grounds on the market in August 2013 after a merger in 2009, when four Presbyterian churches became a single parish with four congregations.

The buyer, Timaru businessman, Kevin Pateman intends to demolish the buildings and use the site for housing.

The site has a land value of about $1 million, is zoned residential and comprises five titles.

St Paul's Church and belltower was built in 1926 and was closed in November 2011 after a wall in the church sustained earthquake damage.

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