Church to close after 139 years
For more than 100 years the Thornbury Presbyterian Church has hosted its share of weddings, funerals, baptisms and services, but at the end of the month it will close for good.
Congregation member Annette Horrell said the closure would be a sad time, especially with her family’s history at the church.
Horrell and two of her sisters were married at the church. She, her four children and three of her grandchildren were baptised there, and her father’s funeral was held there.
The last service will be on November 26 before it will be demolished at a later date.
Horrell had grown up attending services, as did her father’s side of the family.
Her great-great grandfather even held services in a barn until the original building was build in 1878.
It was later rebuilt at its current location on the corner of Foster Rd and Limestone Plains Rd in 1981.
‘‘In the early days everyone married here,’’ Horrell said.
When she married in winter, 1971, the ‘‘ladies’’ of the church cleaned it out and a red carpet was laid down the path to the car.
‘‘I don’t know where they got it ... it’s the only time in my life I’ve walked a red carpet.’’
Her wedding was the first in several years because of changes in fashion, with people going to more modern churches, but her ‘‘big connection’’ to it made her choice an easy one, she said.
‘‘It’s such a relaxed little church. People always say how lovely it is, how they feel comfortable.
‘‘It’s more like going into a living room.’’
Since then there had been lots of services, baptisms and some funerals.
The decision to close the church and sell the property was made by the Limestone Plains Parish. ‘‘This decision hasn’t been made lightly but is due to the age and state of the building and a declining congregation,’’ Horrell said.
The parish would remain, and church goers would continue to attend services at Isla Bank Presbyterian Church and Waimatuku Presbyterian Church, she said.
Anyone with connections to Thornbury and the church is invited to attend a closing service on November 26 at 2pm and an afternoon tea at the Bowling Pavilion.
Congregation members Annette Horrell, Kathleen Hancox and Jill Linscott at Thornbury Presbyterian Church before its closure this month.