150th Anniversary – 25-26 October 2014



Saturday 25 October:

2.00pm – A Gathering and Welcome at 309 Durham Street

At the site of the former church, where car parking space will be available. Weather permitting, a small ceremony will be held to unveil a commemorative plaque (at about 2.15pm).

2.30pm – A Conducted Bus Tour of the Central Business District

The route will travel around areas of the city’s core revealing the effects of the 2010-2011 earthquakes on churches and major buildings.  Brief stops will be made at significant points and there will be an explanatory narration en route.

4.00pm – The Tour will stop at St Mark’s Methodist Church

This offers a comfort stop, and it will allow an opportunity for those continuing to use the provided bus transport who wish to change dress for the evening function to do so.  There is also an opportunity to see the Historical Display in the Hall.

5.00pm – Return to 309 Durham Street

Allowing an interchange of passengers leaving, joining, or continuing on bus transport for the evening function.

5.30pm – Bus Departs for Lincoln for the Anniversary Dinner

6.00pm – Arrive at Lincoln Event Centre, 15 Meijer Drive, Lincoln

In preparation for Dinner in the Baylis Lounge.  This is a two course meal and there will be entertainment provided.
Please note:  Stiletto heels are forbidden!

Sunday 26 October:

10.00am – 150th Anniversary Service of Celebration

At St Mark’s Methodist Church, cnr of Somerfield & Barrington Streets.  Preacher: Rev Dr Mary Caygill.  Organist & Augmented Choir Director: Wallace Woodley.
A massed group Commemorative Photograph will be taken after the service.

12 noon – A Finger Food Lunch in the adjacent Hall

2.00pm – Festival Celebration Concert in the Church

A varied programme of instrumental, vocal & choral items.

4.00pm – Conclusion and Farewell


Durham Street 150th a party to remember

By Hilaire Campbell

Thanks to a superb team effort, the Durham St Methodist Church’s 150th anniversary celebrations were a great success.


Up to 200 people enrolled for various aspects of the celebrations held the weekend of October 25th-26th. They included former ministers and church members from the North Island and Australia.

Ninety-nine year old Naylor Hillary unveiled the commemorative plaque at a moving ceremony on the site of the demolished Church. He also cut the cake at the anniversary dinner.

A large crowd took part in the Sunday service of celebration and the festival concert at St Mark’s Methodist Church in Somerfield. Rev Dr Mary Caygill led the service and preached the sermon. She says this was a huge privilege.

“Many have been part of the congregation most of their active lives. I was very conscious of that deep sense of continuity between past present and future.”

Music is a strong feature of the church, and an augmented choir of 34, including past choir members and friends, sang at the concert as well as the morning service.

Wallace Woodley, the church’s organist and choir director for 47 years, composed a special celebration anthem to a text by Bill Wallace. It reflected on the part played over the last 150 years by stones physically in the former building, and the living ones  that remain. Wallace’s daughters played viola and cello in the anthem, and participated in the concert.

Members of the congregation organized several events, including a central city bus tour and a Sunday lunch. They also printed programmes, arranged flowers and prepared the service. “So many people did so much,” says Wallace.  “We’re very thankful.”

A collection of historical items dating from 1864 was on display at St Mark’s Church. Photos of the Aldersgate complex and the church’s amalgamation with the Methodist Central Mission were poignant reminders of its inner city role.

Mary says throughout the celebrations, there was a deep sense of carrying on the work of the church’s forbears – those feisty early Methodists who built a big church in the middle of an Anglican settlement.

Wallace described the weekend as “a very successful, very happy occasion tinged with nostalgia and sadness. “We paid tribute to past members and those who died when the building collapsed. But it was also a time of healing. It’s lovely to discover your friends from the past.”

Mary believes for the future cooperation with others is the key to the church’s redevelopment in the central city.

“We’ve got a church population that’s not institution oriented so anything is possible,” she says.

From Touchstone, December 2014, p. 16


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Graeme & Carolyn Barrell
    Oct 18, 2014 @ 19:30:06

    Greetings and Celebrations:
    Graeme & Carolyn Barrell
    All best for a great celebration of a church family that has shaped our lives together.
    Graeme Weston Barrell, Son of Charles Durham Barrell, Grandson of Charles Weston Barrell and Carolyn Jean McKinney were married in the chapel in 1961.
    Ashleigh Petch was our Minister at that time
    We moved from Christchurch within 18 months and have lived in the North Island since that time.
    Graeme’s Father, Charles Durham Barrell spent his final years with us and we returned to Durham Street for his memorial service when he passed.
    Mean time our memories of Durham Street being the beginning of our life together remain.
    From Jean Hayes Kindergarten Sunday School, Alan Crothall Sunday School Superintendent and then to Bible class with various leaders.

    Any celebration involved us as children and I well remember standing in front of the Choir and reciting a Psalm or Reading.

    Graeme’s Mother, Ira Jean Barrell was an Alto in the choir that made the old vinyl in the late 50’s . We still have a copy.

    The magnificent organ and memories of Paul Dunlop remain with us as he was of our era. Incidentally my father was also an Optician as was Paul’s so we met often at picnics in our out of Church lives

    I attended Girls Brigade with Lou Kent for many years
    We both attended Friday night club activities with Les Fraser and his team

    Easter Camps and Sunday School, Bible Class outings weekends and trips were times we were involved in. In fact they consume our lives.

    We wish the Church Family all the best for a very memorable (and almost sad) weekend.
    We are so sorry we cannot be part of it but my sister Margaret Duke (nee McKinney) will be there and will come and stay with us the following week.

    Greetings to all we knew and whom were part of our early lives.
    We still remember you often.

    Carolyn & Graeme Barrell


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