Levin Anglicans farewelled their church building on the corner of Manchester and Cambridge Streets on Wednesday night with a slightly sombre church service during the building was officially deconsecrated.
Deconsecration is necessary at the time a building is disposed of, whether sold to someone else or demolished. It removes the religious blessing that had been put on it by consecration.
Anglican parishioners gathered in the hall beside the church, where services have been held since the church was closed in 2017, for the solemn service, where archdeacon Wendy Scott read out the Bishop's deconsecration.
The building with bell tower was built in 1954 and consecrated by the Most Reverend Reginald Owen, Bishop of Wellington (1947-1961, and Archbishop of New Zealand (1952-1961), on December 15, 1956.
The building is deemed an earthquake risk and has been closed since mid-2017 as it was considered too expensive to fix and also needed other work done. Instead a new building will be built on the same spot. Demolition is expected to start this year.
At the service were lists of precious artefacts, ranging from stained glass windows, to candles, pews and prayer desks, some of which will be used again in the new building. The fate of others is still to be discussed. The pipe organ will be disposed of if no buyer is found.
After the service parishioners gathered outside the front of the church, doors open and the building lit inside and out, for a last glimpse of their beloved building, while the bells tolled and parishioners sang.
Many important events in people's lives were celebrated in this church and its closing and demolishing to make way for a modern structure has pained many.
Wendy Scott said it was people, their relationships with one another, that changed lives, not buildings.
"God loved us before the building began and will still love us long after it is gone. Put your trust in Him, not in a building," she said.
"The stories and the connections among us will continue whatever the building will be. It was the people of this place who helped form my ministry when I served here from 2005 to 2007. Their depth of conviction who Jesus was, and their hospitality left an lasting impression, not the building itself."
She read out the words of deconsecration written by Wellington Bishop Justin Duckworth, who was unable to attend in person.