Half-century for church
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.