The Unite Church’s main auditorium coming down last week. Photo: Andrew Board.

Quake issues see two churches go

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One Nelson church has been pulled down this week, while another has been farewelled.

Unite Church on Rutherford St had its main building pulled down last week after it was deemed an earthquake risk a year ago. Minister Paul Burton says the church has been operating out of its older hall on the same site since the earthquake rating was confirmed. He says watching it come down wasn’t sad because the decision was made some time ago and there is a sense of excitement at what lies ahead. “Next step is where to? Hopefully, that means building something on site.

There are pressures on space at the moment in our current buildings but there are big cost tags on building something new, as well,” he says.

Just days before the Unite church came down, the Stoke Methodist Church on Neale Ave, had a “de-consecration ceremony” after it was sold to an unknown vendor.

Presbyter Gary Glover says the building, which has served the congregation since 1965, was deemed an earthquake risk more than a year ago and they were ordered out of it by church authorities. Since then they’ve worshipped from various venues but most recently from St Andrews Presbyterian Church, also in Stoke. “They are a church without a minister and I’m a minister without a church,” says Gary.

The cost of strengthening the building was out of range for the church, so it was decided to sell it and use the proceeds to redevelop its youth wing on the adjacent site, as a new parish.

The massive stained glass window in the church will be removed and used in the new building, says Gary.