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Sale of St Christopher’s- Open Letter to Presbyterian Council

April 21, 2015

To the Moderator, Presbyterian Council,

I have now attended two community meetings in regard to the proposed sale of the church and hall at 27 Ventnor Street, Seatoun, and write to you now in my capacity as an Eastern Ward Councillor to express my concern at what I have heard about the process.

Firstly, as a person with a Christian faith myself, it seems sad that a functioning parish, albeit small, should be disbanded, and I do wonder if there were other options in this regard. I have heard that some parishioners turned up for the regular Sunday service to find the church locked and a note on the door, which seems very sad.

Secondly, there seem to be legitimate concerns around bequests made in the past which were specifically for use in the Seatoun parish/community. I believe there was a substantial bequest made by a Seatoun lady, as well as large sums raised by the community to build the hall for the benefit of the local community.

In addition, the church itself may have been largely built with funds sourced from local churchgoers? And local residents’ efforts must surely have contributed much to servicing and maintaining the buildings over all these years.

Suffice to say that residents have a very real attachment to this church and hall, which have been part of the fabric of the community for generations. Their hearts are heavy, and people feel stunned by the decision to simply sell this heritage ( physical, spiritual, social and emotional) simply to get the highest dollars.

There is also sadness at the loss of memorial windows and other special features of the church installed to commemorate past residents and important occasions.

It is worth noting that Council does have some ability to support communities with funding towards the running costs of community spaces and Seatoun has been identified as a community that is short of community space.

We also have some funding to assist with earthquake strengthening of heritage buildings.

In summary, I do ask you to give favourable consideration to the community’s bid to purchase the church and hall for continued use by the Seatoun community, both church-goers and others.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Free

WCC Councillor, Eastern Ward

Community Facilities Portfolio Leader

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From → Community

One Comment
  1. Tim Datson permalink

    Thank you Sarah, great letter

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