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.’’

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