When a re-think of Whanganui's Anglican Church began in 2015, the church was compared with a toolshed in disarray - its tools blunt and broken.

Four parishes amalgamated to become the Whanganui Anglican Parish in February 2017. Some services ceased. It seemed to be all about downsizing and congregations closing.

There are now signs of growth, with new services more suited to the times, Archdeacon Stuart Goodin said.

"The task for us was to tidy [the toolshed] up, then deploy the tools. It does rather feel like we are now at that stage."


One new initiative is the conversion of a church hall in Ohakune to a lodge and retreat. It will be run as a separate enterprise, but is still linked to the church. More questions will need to be asked about the future up there.

"It's a small parish, run by a faithful few."

The bishop of the Wellington Anglican Diocese, Justin Duckworth, came to live in Whanganui in early 2018. He and his wife Jenny brought members of the church's "missional" Urban Vision team.

They've been part of instigating a new service at St Peter's in Gonville, Goodin said.

"Sometimes what's required is an existing parish needs to simply find a way of making room for the new thing to happen. It may not be within their capacity or skills. We can't be gatekeepers, preventing those things happening."

Something similar could happen at St Luke's in Castlecliff. St Oswald's in Westmere has a new monthly service led and run by children, and lay people have stepped up to provide extra services at St Chad's on St John's Hill.

"There's a certain amount of replanting going on. The trajectory of closure is turned around to be more of replanting, not to resurrect what was there before, but for new things to be enabled."

Overall, Goodin said, the Whanganui Anglican Parish is in good heart, and is strengthening and developing.