Frustration over Christchurch's St John's Anglican church repairs

By Tom Doudney

When the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit, the bell tower of St John's Anglican Church toppled and fell through the roof. Photo / Christchurch Star
When the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit, the bell tower of St John's Anglican Church toppled and fell through the roof. Photo / Christchurch Star

Six years after the September 2010 earthquake, the Hororata community is still in the dark about when its badly damaged heritage church will be restored.

When the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit, the bell tower of St John's Anglican Church toppled and fell through the roof.

Hororata Community Trust trustee Olive Webb said many in the community had expressed frustration with the lack of visible progress on fixing the church.

"After the earthquake this building was surrounded by people from the community, some of whom were regular church goers and some weren't, who were weeping at the destruction of the church," she said.

"We are constantly asked: 'What's the time frame, what's happening?' and all we can tell them is that we are waiting on a response from [the Church Property Trustees]."

HCT has put a proposal to the Church Property Trust on how they can work together towards restoring the church. HCT sees its role as fundraising and helping to determine the specifications of the repair, in consultation with the community.

A Church Property Trustees spokesman declined to answer specific questions about how much the restoration was expected to cost and how much the church would pay, when restoration might take place and the availability of insurance funds for the building.

The repair was "very complex," the spokesman said.

"The trustees look forward as the community does to St John's church again being a vibrant part of the church and community life."

Hororata vicar Jenni Carter said there had been a lot of work done behind the scenes on the future of the church.

"The parish is all about people, it's not about buildings and there is progress being made on the stone church, you just can't see it."

Hororata Cafe and Wine Bar owner Jarnia Kupe said the church remained at the heart of the community and its restoration was an important issue for locals.

"It's better to be done properly [rather than quickly] so as a local resident it's sad in a sense that nothing has happened yet but also there is a lot to be done to bring it up to standard so you kind of accept that."

Hororata parishioner Kate Foster said the congregation had not suffered from the loss of the church as it had the use of the smaller wooden church but she would like to see the stone church restored for heritage reasons.

- Christchurch Star

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