On Sunday afternoon Anne and I travelled south to our new property. We arrived in time for the short decommissioning service at the St Paul’s Totara Valley Presbyterian Church and valued meeting the 30 or so people from the community who have had links with the church – some over all of their lives. I had an opportunity to share a few words and said something like “We all have our dreams and hopes in life – many of the them never come to be because they are somewhat fanciful. However, sometimes they do come true. As children Anne and I dreamt of living on a small block of land in the countryside, and through our adulthood never let that dream go. Well, this time the dreams have come true! There might well be some nightmares in this new reality as there will be some significant challenges with the building, but we are so excited and thrilled to have this opportunity to honour what has been and one day live here.”
The Totara Valley Church on Cleland Rd was opened on 5th October 1890. It was from the outset a community church with church folk offering labour to cart stones from the nearby quarry and try to lessen the costs. It was built for 370 pounds with the foyer added in 1925 from funds given by Andrew Cleland (after whom Cleland Rd gets its name).
The 50th anniversary of the building in 1940 (war-time!) is pictured.
Two folk who were children then were at the decommissioning service.
In 1955 about 400 pounds was spent on re-plastering the inside walls of the church and repairs to the porch, roof, and windows. The shack that we are living in when we get down there was finally opened in 1952 housing three Sunday School rooms.
Monthly services concluded in August 2010 because of the 4 September Canterbury earthquakes.
Here we are – man, woman, hound & pitch fork… ready for action!