Bold church plans going ahead
‘‘How do we honour the past, yet move forward?’’ - John Hornblow
There may have been plenty of social media ‘‘dislikes’’ but All Saints church will be proceeding with its bold verandah project.
A $5 million project to strengthen and refurbish the 100-year-old heritage brick building and World War I memorial also includes opening up and glazing the baptistry at the front of the church, and building a ‘‘flamboyant’’ arched verandah on the street frontage.
‘‘The parish has signed off on a concept like the one that has been presented,’’ All Saints priest John Hornblow said.
Designs for the frontage drew a largely negative public response when shared on Neighbourly. Among the labels were ‘‘ugly’’, ‘‘hideous’’, ‘‘yuck’’,and ‘‘eyesore’’.
The level of response, both positive and negative, had heartened Hornblow.
’’Feedback at this stage is so important ... We’ve really appreciated the engagement. We always knew there was a high level of interest in the building, but it turns out it is even higher than anything we anticipated.’’
While social media had tended towards the negative, face-to-face encounters had proved more positive. Sizable donations had already been promised.
‘‘It’s a public building, but it is not in public ownership, and there won’t be a public vote.
‘‘The question is how do we honour the past, yet move forward?’’
The priority is the $3.8 million earthquake strengthening; second is the $1 million verandah, entrance and glazing, and third is an interior makeover, the first since 1916.
‘‘The dream,’’ Hornblow said, ’’is to prepare All Saints for the next 100 years.’’
The congregation and community will have to raise up to $2 million - 40 per cent of the cost - and 75 per cent of the amount must be in the bank before the project can go ahead.
‘‘It won’t be a simple or straightforward process.’’
Hornblow said while All Saints was a beautiful building, it was also austere, and the proposed changes would open it up and make it more welcoming and inviting.
‘‘Heritage New Zealand is delighted with the overall concept because there will be minimal alterations to the building.
‘‘The council is happy for verandahs such as ours... they provide shelter and protection.’’