Old Church with a new owner

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

Joe Hoger­vorst says it was divine in­ter­ven­tion which led to his pur­chase of Dun­sandels’ Old Church on SH1 and he’s bring­ing faith back to the her­itage site.

Opened on April 4, 1912, the Methodist church on SH1 was built over the course of a year for a to­tal cost of £700. The last ser­vice was held in the church on Septem­ber 19, 1971, and the build­ing be­come a craft shop.

It was later pur­chased by the Dun­sandel Historic So­ci­ety (DHS). When main­te­nance and up­keep be­came too much, DHS pres­i­dent Mike Noo­nan said they re­luc­tantly agreed to sell it.

‘‘Luck­ily we’ve got a buyer who wants to keep it as a church, so it will re­main an icon for Dun­sandel,’’ Noo­nan said.

New owner Hoger­vorst said he saw the build­ing ad­ver­tised for sale while pre­par­ing to re­turn per­ma­nently to Aus­tralia.

‘‘I saw the church and did a u-turn. I thought ‘this is it’,’’ Hoger­vorst said.

He said the build­ing would be­come ‘‘a real born again church’’, with pen­ta­costal min­is­ters vis­it­ing from the United States, Aus­tralia and around New Zealand. The build­ing it­self would be re­fur­bished much as it was, with work to meet cur­rent reg­u­la­tions. Any­one who wished to vol­un­teer their time or ma­te­ri­als could con­tact Hoger­vorst via email at; joe­hoger­vorst@gmail.com or via cell­phone on 021 024 85685.

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