Worshippers' prayers answered as church arrives

By Peter de Graaf

Kawakawa Anglicans will have a church to call their own this Christmas for the first time since their church burnt down almost eight years ago.

The original St Paul's, on Church Rd on the hill above town, was destroyed by arson on February 6, 2004, a year after celebrating its 125th anniversary.

While the new church won't be ready for use until March, parishioners are ''very excited'' at the prospect of having their own place of worship again, administrator Isobelle Cherrington said. The wider Kawakawa community had also shown a great deal of interest.

The church had been insured but the parish was left with a shortfall of $70,000. Fundraising and grant applications would start in earnest in the New Year.

The parish has about 70 members from Towai to Pakaraka, who currently use St Andrew's Church at Taumarere.

The church arrived by truck in the early hours of November 30 and was in position and reassembled by lunchtime. It spent the night at Ruakaka on the way after its journey from Auckland was delayed by road works and weather.

The ''new'' St Paul's is just under 100 years old, originally built as St Bride's Catholic Church at Ramarama, south of Auckland. Most recently it served as the chapel at Selwyn Oaks retirement village in Papakura, but its location on a hilltop made it impractical. It has been replaced by a new chapel within the village.

Project manager/designer Will Boyd of Haruru Falls, who is in charge of moving the church and building a new hall, said he was aiming for a mid-March opening.

The new hall would have a kitchen, toilets and a large covered deck for church and community functions, youth group meetings, Sunday school, weddings and funerals. The foundations and a concrete pad had been laid and all services would be connected by Christmas, Mr Boyd said.

- Northern Advocate

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