Shake-up at Greyfri­ars

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

A 97-year-old Mt Eden church is tem­po­rar­ily clos­ing its doors af­ter a report re­vealed it may not per­form well in a strong earth­quake.

Greyfri­ars Pres­by­te­rian Church ser­vices have been re­lo­cated to the ad­ja­cent me­mo­rial hall un­til re­me­dial build­ing works are car­ried out.

The church, which was founded in 1915, was iden­ti­fied by Auck­land Coun­cil as re­quir­ing strength­en­ing in the next 10 years to bring it up to stan­dard.

An ini­tial eval­u­a­tion by struc­tural engi­neers found the build­ing may per­form poorly if a ma­jor earth­quake strikes.

The floor of the build­ing was strength­ened ear­lier this year.

North­ern Pres­bytery project man­ager Forbes Worn says the Pres­by­te­rian Church is be­ing proac­tive and mov­ing quickly.

Greyfri­ars is the first of ‘‘scores’’ of early Pres­by­te­rian churches in Auck­land which will un­dergo fur­ther risk as­sess­ments.

‘‘The prob­lem’s not go­ing to go away. Rather than hav­ing it forced on us we want to start the ball rolling our­selves,’’ Mr Worn says.

The Pres­by­te­rian Church ex­pects to know the out­come of the re­ports by the end of Jan­uary.

‘‘We will then be look­ing at what the fu­ture holds.’’

Greyfri­ars par­ish min­is­ter John Mal­colm says the church is a good, solid build­ing.

‘‘It has stood for 100 years but we just need to err on the side of cau­tion and make sure ev­ery­thing is safe,’’ he says.

Mov­ing won’t be easy, he says.

‘‘I’m sure there will be mixed feel­ings.

‘‘Peo­ple have got mar­ried here, had chil­dren bap­tised here and their chil­dren marry here so it makes it a pre­cious place in peo­ple’s hearts and minds.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Di­vine in­ter­ven­tion: Greyfri­ars Pres­by­te­rian Church par­ish min­is­ter John Mal­colm is mov­ing his flock as the Mt Eden Rd church un­der­goes an earth­quake risk as­sess­ment.

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