It was both a celebration and a farewell yesterday as around 200 people gathered for the final Sunday service at St Peter's Anglican church in Gonville yesterday.

Yesterday's service and lunch was a celebration of 150 years of mission and ministry to the Whanganui district. The congregation has dwindled to 12 and the Sunday service will now move to Christ Church in Wicksteed St.

The wooden church which began its life in Victoria Ave in 1866 was moved to the current location in Koromiko Rd in 1921.

Designed by civil engineer and surveyor, Henry Claylands Field, the church was dismantled before it was moved and after it was reassembled a lynch gate was added in 1926.


A plaque at the entrance informs visitors that the gate was a gift from Mr and Mrs Frank Spencer.

Beside the gate is a more recent plaque in memory of Richard Safey who was a prime mover in planning the 150th celebration.

After yesterday's service, which included a sermon by Archdeacon Dr Ray Muller and readings by a number of church members, there was a tree planting in the church grounds.
Parish chaplain Paulette Archer, planted a brown turkey fig tree with help from some of the parish children.

Although the Sunday services will no longer be held, St Peters will still hold traditional worship on Wednesday afternoons at 1pm.