Fight­ing to stop St Philip’s Church sale

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

A 100-year-old church in Porirua is sched­uled to be sold and re­moved, but its angry con­gre­ga­tion will fight to the last to en­sure its sur­vival.

The blink-and-you-miss-it St Philip’s Church, op­po­site Pare­mata School, is a well-used and wel­come haven to its 27 mem­bers.

That’s why there is dis­be­lief that a par­ish re­view car­ried out by the Angli­can Dio­cese this year has rec­om­mended St Philip’s be sold.

The Pau­ata­hanui Par­ish has four churches - St Philip’s, St An­drew’s in Plim­mer­ton, St Al­ban’s in Pau­ata­hanui and St Mark’s in Pukerua Bay.

The lat­ter is un­used and may also be sold as the re­view rec­om­mended con­sol­i­dat­ing the 120 par­ish mem­bers into St Al­ban’s and St An­drew’s.

St Philip’s mem­ber An­drea Coul­ston said anger, sad­ness and dis­ap­point­ment were the chief emo­tions at the mo­ment for the St Philip’s group.

‘‘We have a lively group of peo­ple that reg­u­larly at­tend ser­vices here. We cost the par­ish noth­ing for the build­ing’s up­keep, we look af­ter it our­selves and can fundraise if we need to.

‘‘We’re re­signed a bit to what’s hap­pen­ing and it’s easy to be cyn­i­cal about why it’s be­ing done.’’

The church has no toi­let or run­ning water, but is likely on a sought-af­ter piece of land. There was no her­itage value con­nected to the build­ing, but Coul­ston said you couldn’t put her­itage or price tags on some­thing that had heart and soul within its walls.

On Septem­ber 13, a spe­cial meet­ing will be held at St An­drew’s and a vote taken by the mem­bers to de­cide the church’s fate.

Just one ex­tra vote to sell would make it bind­ing.

Par­ish vicar Rev Pete Wat­son said the re­view came up with logi- cal con­clu­sions for the sale of St Philip’s and pos­si­bly St Mark’s.

‘‘We cer­tainly recog­nise the en­ergy and pas­sion that the St Philip’s con­gre­ga­tion have put in,’’ he said.

‘‘I un­der­stand the anger and de­nial, but there needs to be con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment in the build- ing, along with reg­u­lar in­sur­ance and power costs. The [Septem­ber 13] vote might be made to keep it, but the re­view asked if we need four churches for 120 peo­ple.’’

If the vote is to sell, the St Philip’s con­gre­ga­tion would join St Al­ban’s or St An­drew’s, or wor­ship in an al­ter­na­tive venue.

Some of the mem­bers of St Philip’s Church in Pare­mata, Porirua, which is in dan­ger of be­ing sold by the Angli­can Dio­cese.

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