Packed church farewells rev­erend

Kaikoura Star - - OUT & ABOUT - PIPPA BROWN

There were tears, smiles and shared mem­o­ries among the pews of St Paul’s Church on Sun­day.

The lit­tle Pres­by­te­rian Church on the hill was packed out as peo­ple gath­ered to farewell Rev­erend Alis­tair McNaughton and his fam­ily.

Many in the con­gre­ga­tion spoke of the con­tri­bu­tion he and his wife Cather­ine had made since tak­ing over the min­istry seven years ago.

McNaughton moved to Kaiko¯ura with Cather­ine and their three chil­dren as an in­tern from South Auck­land, mov­ing from a much-larger min­istry to a very small con­gre­ga­tion.

He said he would miss the church but if he was build­ing the church to­day he would have a glass-in front to take in the ‘‘per­fect view of the ocean and moun­tains’’.

‘‘Its an amaz­ing build­ing, but most of what we’ve done has been out of the church be­cause it isn’t de­signed for mod­ern use.

‘‘The peo­ple who come to the morn­ing ser­vice very much love it, and a lot of tourists come in sum­mer,’’ he said.

Dur­ing his time in Kaiko¯ura McNaughton and his wife Cather­ine have fo­cused on grow­ing the con­gre­ga­tion and filled their house with peo­ple, in­sti­gated an af­ter­noon kid’s club, started a youth min­istry as well as a se­cond af­ter­noon ser­vice for chil­dren and fam­i­lies called The Ta­ble, and taught chess to chil­dren in the lo­cal schools.

Since the 7.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake last Novem­ber, The Ta­ble, an in­for­mal church ser­vice and low-key bar­be­cue, has been held in the Manse, where 30 peo­ple con­gre­gate in the McNaughton home.

‘‘We aren’t a for­mal cul­ture so low-key in­for­mal­ity is a value of kiwi so­ci­ety for some,’’ said McNaughton.

Along with Taka­hanga Marae the church took in peo­ple stranded af­ter the quake and more than 50 tourists slept on the floor of the church and in the house.

‘‘We just opened up the doors for them to stay.

‘‘It was just be­ing hu­man, an act of kind­ness and a place for them to stay just like most Kaiko¯uri­ans opened up their places,’’ he said.

McNaughton said the earth- quake had brought the com­mu­nity closer to­gether.

‘‘Af­ter the earth­quake we found there was an in­creased con­nec­tion and open­ness with peo­ple and more doors were open.’’

McNaughton said he has made some ’’in­cred­i­ble con­nec­tions with peo­ple’’.

‘‘In a small ru­ral com­mu­nity there’s a con­stant rub­bing of shoul­ders that doesn’t hap­pen in a larger city or town­ship.’’

He said he had learnt a lot from Kaiko¯ura, where he had to cre­ate things from scratch.

McNaughton was mov­ing to over­see a much larger con­gre­ga­tion in Geral­dine, and to spend more time with his three teenage chil­dren. He had no qualms about the fu­ture and said there were many ca­pa­ble peo­ple who had stepped up to help out.

Mayor Win­ston Gray said the rev­erend was a man who sup­ported and cared deeply for the com­mu­nity.

He had been an in­spi­ra­tion, help­ing out in the af­ter­math of the earth­quake and or­gan­ised the com­mu­nity church ser­vice in the park, when the town’s churches came to­gether for a ser­vice postquake.

‘‘He has the abil­ity to look af­ter his fel­low man, which he is good at and pre­pared to put his hand up to help those in need.

‘‘He and his fam­ily care deeply about peo­ple,’’ said Gray.

PHOTO: PIPPA BROWN/STUFF

Rev­erend Alis­tair McNaughton out­side his­toric St Paul’s Church.

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