The closure of a 95-year-old Anglican church and a 138-year-old parish in Napier is part of a greater decline, both regionally and nationwide, in church attendance.
The last service at St Luke's Anglican Church in Vigor Brown Street, built in 1927, was held at 9.30am on Sunday.
Earlier on Saturday, a farewell lunch was attended by 45 supporters who shared memories of the events and services that marked their lives while attending St Luke's, according to a statement from the Diocese of Waiapu.
The statement said the decision to close the parish of Napier South was made at the Diocesan Synod last month.
The decision came after the Right Reverend Andrew Hedge, Anglican Bishop of Waiapu and the Standing Committee of the Diocese, had been working with the people of the parish of Napier South for a number of years to consider alternatives to closure since the other church in the parish, St Augustine's, closed in 2014.
"While some of these were issues of building strength at St Augustine's church, there have also been significant issues of sustainability in the face of declining numbers in attendance," the statement said.
Bishop Hedge estimated St Luke's had less than 20 people regularly attending services over the last few years, from what he could recall.
He said the decline in numbers of service attendees has been a long-term and widespread trend across the globe for the Church for the past 50 to 60 years.
"That is requiring us to stop and rethink what it means to be Church. Where - we've had lots of church buildings in the past, but there is the potential for them to become more of a liability than an asset," he said.
"Thinking more broadly about how people gather as church, beyond just the church buildings; how we gather and continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without necessarily needing to be tied to a building is one of the questions we are asking."
The 2018 Stats NZ census was the first time that the number of people who answered that they have "no religion" overtook the total number of those said they who believed in a denomination of Christianity.
According to the 2018 data, Anglicans made up 6.7 per cent of Aotearoa's population, while they made up about 10.8 per cent of the Hawke's Bay population.
Bishop Hedge said Napier South parishioners are moving in with other larger parishes in Napier.
He said a decision on the future of the building and land has not yet been made.
Vacant land where St Augustine's Church formerly sat was put aside for a potential social housing project in 2020.
He said they were still in the exploratory phase and that it was still too early to provide further details.
He said the Diocese of Waiapu was looking toward the future for ministry in the area which has been the parish of Napier South, and a key part of that future will be through the relationship the Anglican Church share with Te Pihopatanga o Te Tairawhiti.
"My discussions with Atipihopa Don Tamihere about how our shared relationship across the church can fulfil a vision of supporting the flourishing of life for all people. Te Oranga Ake o Te Iwi includes particular focus within Napier South."