Earthquake-prone Anglican church will be deconsecrated

Indrea Alexander.
Indrea Alexander.
With its congregation waning  to 15 and with an  overwhelmingly large estimated cost of bringing their church up to the required building-strengthening standard, Waihao Downs St Michael’s Anglican Church  congregation will close the door on its house of worship.

On Monday, the church, north of Oamaru, will be deconsecrated.

Vicar of Waimate District Co-operating Venture  the Rev Indrea Alexander said in a statement that  in 2011 St Michael’s was assessed at below 33% of the new building standard and more than $440,000 would be required for strengthening work.

Ms Indrea said the church supporters initially thought the building could be sold for private use, but a special meeting of locals and church members in 2016 came to the conclusion it should be demolished.

She told the Otago Daily Times the choice to demolish the church was in one way a decision to protect the church’s memory.

"There was a growing unease with the realisation that if the church was sold into private hands there would be no [determination] of how it may be used ... or if it would fit having a cemetery right on its doorstep. Even if we sold it entirely to people who would be good neighbours, you don’t know what it would be in 50 years’ time."

The time of demolition was yet to be set, she said, but what was clear was the cemetery the church sits in would remain for the foreseeable future.

Ms Indrea said the decision to close the church forever was, in a way,  a relief for the parish given how many years it had taken to reach a conclusion.

"There are, of course, people who are sad because it’s been a place where lots of memories have been made.

"I’m glad the decision has been made and we’re able to get on with the next step which is demolition of the building."

She said the parish had shifted  services to Waihao Valley Presbyterian Church in 2011.

The deconsecration starts at 5.30pm.

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