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History gems coming to light

History gems coming to light

Pics St Andrew’s Ext

St Andrew’s Int

St Andrew’s Community Church history is under the microscope as the congregation prepares to celebrate its 125-year Anniversary in February next year. The Anniversary Committee is asking for stories, photos and memorabilia to help with the display for a church Open Weekend on 17th-20th February, when story boards and photos will tell the community stories.

Committee Co-ordinator Dorothy Preece says they have already collected some old photos of church weddings. “The earliest so far is 1912, with a copy of the Marriage Certificate. We also have the promise of a wedding dress,” Dorothy says.

“The church celebrated its Centennial in 1998 with a big affair in the Town Hall. Many of the older folk told their stories then. Sadly those forebears have all passed on now, and today we are reliant on grandchildren and great-grandies to trawl through their own memories for family stories, and search their parents’ photo albums. We want to hear from people who went to Sunday School here, or whose parents were baptised or married here.”

Dorothy says local author Janet Riddle’s book Seaspray and Sawdust is a mine of information on the building of the church. “Janet wrote another book, By Saddle to Pulpit, specially for the Church Centennial, and that is also providing lots of stories to be followed up.”

The church began its life In 1898 as ‘Whitianga Undenominational Church’, with monies raised in the local community. Dorothy says the church has always served as a community hub, made moreso by the addition of the lounge and kitchen in 2002, and they want this event to be as much about the community as about the church.


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