For every dark cloud there is a silver lining and the parishioners of two Christchurch churches are looking forward to the completion of their beautiful new place of worship.
When St Mary’s Church in Merivale and St Matthews Church in St Albans were damaged beyond repair, their respective parishes decided to join together as one; building a new Church known as All Souls’ Church – signifying a new beginning.
Fittingly, the chosen site is that of St Mary’s on Church Lane in Merivale. Cherished and holy grounds, it has been the site of a Church since 1866 when the ﬁrst wooden structure was built.
That Church was replaced with the magniﬁcent stone Church and hall complex, consecrated in 1927, standing the test of time till sadly lost in 2011.
Architects for All Souls’ Church, Warren and Mahoney, have designed a beautifully contemporary building of just over 1000sqm.
Consisting of a worship space for up to 250 people, a large foyer links a hall accommodating 150 – 200 people, depending on whether seated or standing. Church and community activities, crafts and a drop-in centre are run from a smaller hall space accommodating 25 people.
But Suzanne Price from Church Property Trustees (CPT), which manages the diocese property and oversees the earthquake repair and rebuild programme, says the ‘the piecede resistance’ is a large white opaque glass conical shaped Chapel.
Linked to the foyer and extending from the churches natural footprint, the Chapel will draw light from the outside world that will spill across the ﬂoor and illuminate stained glass windows cantilevered and hanging inside from steel ropes.
“Twelve of the original twenty stained glass windows from St Mary’s Church have been selected and placed in steel frames,” says Suzanne.
“Quite a bit of testing was done by Warren and Mahoney to ensure they chose the right level of opaqueness of the glass in the chapel to ensure light transferred into the back of the stained glass windows so that they could be enjoyed by those inside.”
The Chapel will seat 36 people around the perimeter of the conical shape and will be used for very small services taking place early in the day or mid week, a family attending a funeral or people seeking quiet reﬂection.
While very few elements from St Mary’s or St Matthews will ﬁnd their way into the new All Souls’ Church, a special series of three windows from St Mary’s will also be going into the worship space along with the World War One Memorial stained glass window salvaged from St Matthews – both important and carrying special signiﬁcance.
Suzanne says the new All Souls’ Church will be funded from insurance proceeds from both St Mary’s and St Matthews Churches.
“The total project cost is $6.3m including fees, consequential costs, consents – all the things that occur just to get on site. The construction value alone is $4.7m, excluding parish ﬁt out.”
With contractors Higgs Construction awarded the tender last year, work commenced May 2017 with completion expected late August 2018 – it will be a much anticipated silver lining.
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