Half-cen­tury for church

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

Fifty years ago the Mata­mata All Saints Angli­can Church opened the doors to its new build­ing for the first time and now the com­mu­nity is cel­e­brat­ing the mile­stone with an open day on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 19.

The day will start off with a ser­vice at 10am and at 2.30pm there will be a dis­play in the church hall and af­ter­noon tea un­der the Wal­nut tree.

At 4pm a ser­vice of 1662 Even­song with read­ings and hymns will be held.

‘‘Ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity is wel­come to come along – es­pe­cially if they have had an as­so­ci­a­tion with the church in some way over the years,’’ said All Saints Vicar Rhys Lewis.

‘‘I hope peo­ple come back with their pos­i­tive mem­o­ries from the All Saints church for an af­ter­noon tea, to meet old friends and re­vive mem­o­ries of the past.’’

On Fe­bru­ary 17, 1962 the church held its very first ser­vice which more than 600 peo­ple at­tended.

The new build­ing re­placed a small wooden church built in 1908 that is still sit­u­ated on the prop­erty.

One of the first events to be held in the church was a wed­ding and on the week­end of its 50th birth­day, a lo­cal cou­ple are get­ting mar­ried there.

The Bowler Broth­ers in Mata­mata had pre­vi­ously started up a build­ing fund be­fore World War II for a church to be built so with that money and ex­tra fundrais­ing the church was un­der way by 1960.

Lo­cal com­pany Mcken­zie Build­ings built the church which cost 30,000 NZ pounds.

‘‘It was built to mod­ern stan­dards and made of Huntly brick.

‘‘It was built as a tra­di­tional old English style with rimu pews and fur­nish­ings,’’ Mr Lewis said.

‘‘It has been a good build­ing and long may it con­tinue.’’

Over the years the All Saints Church has hosted a num­ber of ex­cit­ing events in­clud­ing Praise Be which was filmed there in 2000, Christ­mas con­certs for more than 50 years, brass band con­certs and funer­als of many Mata­mata res­i­dents.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple just come to visit the church as well to look at the stained glass win­dows and we al­ways have such pos­i­tive feed­back. They all say it is a very peace­ful church,’’ Mr Lewis said.

New be­gin­nings: The church on its 1962 open­ing day.

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