Fighting to stop St Philip’s Church sale
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.