Church prepares for centenary
by Janelle Kirkland
The church roof over parishioners’ heads in Elsthorpe has been red, brown and green during the past 100 years.
And as the community celebrates the centenary of St Stephen’s Church in the Central Hawke’s Bay settlement, it is a new red roof that will house the commemorative service.
The roof and new paint job were part of a church revamp two years ago.
Parishioner Barbara Scheele, who has attended for several years since moving to Elsthorpe, said the church held a special place in the community and some families had been involved for many years.
She and a group of fellow parishioners came together to organise a service and lunch on June 28.
“In the old days it used to be busy with Sunday schools and they had a choir and all sorts. Of course, there’s a decline in people. People seem to be so busy now taking children to sporting events,” she said.
But the church was still going, and that was “the main thing”.
The church holds services every second Sunday of every second month at 10am and holds big events at Easter and Christmas.
The Selwyn-style structure, with its attractive wooden interior, was built in 1909 in two months, and cost just over 44 pounds to build.
It was consecrated on June 27 by the Bishop of Waipawa, William Leonard Williams, three days before he retired.
Families donated furniture, and a memorial roll of honour commemorated local men who died in World War II and the Vietnam war.
In its early years it was used by Presbyterians and Catholics, but for many years it had been an Anglican ‘church. It now comes under the Havelock North parish of St Luke’s.
Invites to the 100-year celebrations have been sent around the district.
Celebrations will include an 11am service at the church and a 12.30 lunch at the Elsthorpe Hall next door. Contact Barbara Scheele on 858-4303 or [email protected]
Photo captions –
CENTRAL CENTENARY: Elsthorpe Church in Central Hawke’s Bay will be 100 years old next month. PICTURE/WARREN BUCKLAND HBT091945-06
PASSIONATE PARISHIONER: Barbara Scheele looks forward to celebrations at the church she has been part of since moving to Elsthorpe.
PICTURE / WARREN BUCKLAND HBT091945-05