Seven years after the 2011 earthquake hit New Zealand, a blessing ceremony will be held on the site of the Street Methodist Church (309 Durham Street). The ceremony will mark the commencement of the construction of a new multi-purpose complex. Led by representatives of Te Taha Maori and Ngai Tahu it will be held at 6.15am on Monday 26 February.
The original Durham Street Methodist Church collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake causing the loss of three lives. “The loss of the building has given the congregation an opportunity to build a new place of worship that is much more than a building. The new complex, which will be known as Aldersgate, will be a new place of gathering; of ministry and outreach to the community; a coming together of services to give practical support; a flexible complex where we can continue to evolve the way in which we live out our call as Methodists in Christchurch city”, said Rev Rob Ferguson, the Methodist City Chaplain.
Rev Ferguson who was appointed to the role of city chaplain two years ago established the StreeTs Ministry. This engagement with the inner city communities has kept parish links with the inner city alive. To further live out its commitment to public theology and social justice the parish will be sharing Aldersgate with Christchurch Methodist Mission and Christian World Service.
Wilkie and Bruce Architects have designed the building and the desired completion date is July 2019.
Since the 1850s there has been a Methodist presence in the City. The Durham Street Church congregation felt it was right to return there. The Church was the first stone building on the Canterbury Plains, built just 14 years after European Settlement. It was opened on Christmas Day 1864.
“The new building with its multi-purpose layout will serve the needs of the Church, community and congregation for the next 150 years”, said Rev Ferguson.