Church to close after 139 years

The Invercargill Eye - - OUT & ABOUT - RE­BECCA MOORE

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.

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