Just about everyone in Waihi knows someone who was married at St John's Anglican Church.

It has 125 years of history in town, after all.

The Parish of St John The Evangelist Waihi — commonly known as Waihi Anglican Church — is celebrating 125 years of becoming a parish on October 13.

"This church is not just for Anglicans," says priest Joy Braddick.

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"It's for the community. We are very much steeped in the history of Waihi. An awful lot of people have been married here. And a lot of people have returned to Waihi to get married," she says. Joy has performed countless ceremonies at the church.

"The hall next door (where the original church used to be) was also used for regular dances so a lot of locals met at those dances."

"In past days, everyone used to get married in a church and this was the church they came to," says Christina Syratt, who will be ordained as a deacon in November.

"There's a really strong sense of community in the town and our church."

Over 100 people will be invited to the anniversary lunch to celebrate 125 years since the first dedication in 1894.

The public are invited to a special service at 10am led by the Most Reverend Sir David Moxon who was once their bishop. He officiated at the centenary in 1994.


Some history
The majestic church which sits on the corner of Seddon and Gilmour St is not the original building.

The original church was where the hall now is. It was designed and built for a small parish.
The opening was supposed to be September 1894 but was postponed due to the state of the roads.

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Clergymen travelled from Paeroa or Katikati for services as Waihi did not gain its first vicar until 1900.

Gold mining had started up in Waihi in 1878 and in 1905 the town had 5594 inhabitants (compared to Hamilton with 2150 and Tauranga with 1047). Thanks to mining, Waihi was the leading town south of Auckland.

The congregation outgrew the original church and the new church was built in 1906 at a cost of 1154 pounds. The old church was sold and taken out of town.

The foundation stone was laid in January 1906 by the Governor of New Zealand Lord Plunket. The inscription of this stone, still visible at the east end of the church, reads "A.M.D.G. 10 January 1906." The initials stand for "ad maiorem dei gloriam" (to the greater glory of God).


A photographic timeline
The church would like to create a photographic timeline of the church throughout the years and seeking photos of weddings, baptisms and confirmations from the community.

Photos can be sent into waihianglican@gmail.com or people can call into Waihi Accounting and speak to Christina for photos to be scanned.

The 10am service is open to all. Church members would like to see as many as possible at the service.

"It's not all fire and brimstone," she says. "Not at all. Our sermons are uplifting more than anything."