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Anglicans started worshipping in the suburb of St Martins 166 years ago in 1853.
This year, on November 3, 166 people showed up to farewell St Anne’s Church.
God, it seems, has an eye for detail.
St Anne’s Church sits on the corner of Centaurus and Wilsons Rds and has been part of the community since 1922 with various incarnations of buildings over that time. The current chapel building has been there since 1959 and its distinctive Rena Jarosewitach stained glass cross since 1992.
In that time it has seen countless baptisms, weddings, funerals, dances, worship services, and fairs as well as hosting various community groups and events.
There have certainly been some interesting vicars at St Anne’s. Reverend Simon Ballantyne (1982-1998) performed an annual stunt to advertise the church fair including living atop the belltower, being buried alive, locking himself in a shipping container, and sitting in a BMW suspended by a crane. Rev Michael Cocks (1964-1970) dabbled in extra-sensory perception. Reverends Chris and Kate Carey-Smith hosted a rafting competition in 2001 that saw more than 70 rafts floating down the Heathcote.
Unfortunately, numbers at the church dwindled, and so in 2007, St Anne’s merged with the neighbouring parish of Opawa. It turned out to be a very useful marriage because after the earthquakes of 2011 St Mark’s Opawa sustained significant damage so the two congregations have worshipped as one at St Anne’s since then.
A decision has been made to consolidate back to St Mark’s Opawa. Repair work should start on St Mark’s in the new year, and while the parish waits for it to be completed, they will be worshipping at St Mark’s School in Cholmondeley Ave.
The designs for the repair of St Mark’s Church includes a new St Anne’s side chapel, which will feature a number of the beautiful items rescued from St Anne’s including the altar and stained glass window.
More details are on their website www.opawastmartins.com or on Facebook.
As for what is happening at St Anne’s – it will be demolished, along with the old vicarage next door before the end of the year, and we’ll let the new owners share their story.