Christchurch Presbytery Records

Akaroa Presbyterian Church -

  • During a 10 year vacancy in ministers between 1864 and 1874, the Church building dating from 1859 was somewhat neglected. The newly called Minister, the Rev W Douglas wrote : "The Church had become dilapidated - broken windows, leaking roof, crazy wall creaking like a basket at every blast of wind - a desolate uncared for semi-wreck". At his first Sunday evening service in 1874 he related that : "...only Mr Billens and I turned up. It was raining and blowing, the Church was leaking from end to end, and it was positively unsafe to be inside, so we went home." The cost of repairs amounted to about £100. Although a new Church was opened in 1886, a portion of the old Church continued to give good service as an office building at Akaroa, still being used for that purpose as at 1963.

Cashmere Hills Presbyterian Church -

  • A burglary took place in the Church in late 1991 or early 1992. The safe was the main focus although we are unsure if the burglars managed to open it. An insurance claim was however submitted.

Christchurch District Bible Class -

  • As at February 1984 the records of the Christchurch District Committee of the Bible Class Union were stored in the New Brighton Union Church. As at 2005, these records were no longer there and cannot now be located. The records had comprised of two minute books as follows : (1) 15 May 1941 to 4 Sept 1950 (at the rear of the book being the minutes of the Reese Camp Committee from 23 Feb 1960 to 1 Aug 1963); (2) 20 Sept 1954 to 18 Aug 1958.

Cust - Oxford Presbyterian Church -

  • No Communion rolls prior to 1905.

Dunsandel Presbyterian Church (previously known as Upper Selwyn Church) -

  • the first Minute Book of the Upper Selwyn Church Committee dating from March 1872 to June 1907 was found in good condition under the floorboards of the Dunsandel General Store when it was being demolished. It is believed that some other Dunsandel Church records are still unaccounted for (Aug 2003)

Halkett Presbyterian Charge [Kirwee, Kimberley, Darfield] -

  • A Church was built on 5 acres of land at Halkett in 1873 and supplied by students and Ministers through the Church Extension Association. The charge of Halkett-Kimberley was constituted with their fist Minister being inducted in March 1880. The Parish noted in 1973 that minute books prior to 1887 had "disappeared" and are still believed to be missing.
  • Efforts by the resident Minister as late as 1984 to uncover the records proved fruitless. It was believed in the Parish that during the Ministry of the Rev Ian Ryburn (1951-58) the records were sent to the Wellington Church office for safekeeping but this proved not to be the case.
  • Curiously, a humorous poem written by one of the builders in 1873 has survived in the district, being the only record, albeit in the form of wit, of the planning for and building of the church. This poem describes the rather too long planning meetings that achieved little, the shortage of money, criticism from amatuers, interference with the builders' work, and a passing opinion of those resident in the district! [Refer "The Outlook", Nov 1973].

Hanmer Springs Presbyterian Church (Amuri Parish) -

  • The Church was "overthrown by a hurricane" in 1892. It is  unknown if any records were lost in this most unusual event.
  • A record from 1931 states "No records to be found" - we cannot at present ascertain if such records have since been located (2006).
  • Painters burning off paint c.1938-39 accidentally started a fire causing £220 pounds worth of damage.

Kaiapoi Presbyterian Church -

  • According to a record from 1938, the Parish once issued Communion Tokens printed on waxed card. As at this date none could be located.

Knox Presbyterian Church, Cheviot -

  • The original Cheviot Presbyterian Church, having been built in 1896 and subsequently converted into a Sunday School Hall c. 1953, burnt down at around 3am on the 4th May1954, being a total loss with an insurance claim amounting to £500 pounds. A new Parish centre arose from the ashes in 1966. For a short time, three churches had stood almost side by side, the old Presbyterian Church, the new 1953 Church, and the Primitive Methodist Chapel.
  • The foundation stone of the new Knox Church came from the foundations of the Cheviot "Mansion House" and the bell, which hangs in the new Church tower and had formerly hung in the old Church, was once the Cheviot Hills Station bell.

Knox Presbyterian Church, Christchurch -

  • In 1929, the Murchison earthquake brought down the two Celtic Crosses from the roof of the Church and damaged one of the northern gables causing damage amounting to £62 pounds.
  • No Communion roll 1880 to approx 1883.

Leeston Presbyterian Church -

  • Board of Management minutes prior to 1909 missing (?)

Rangiora Presbyterian Church -

  • Baptismal roll c.1885 to Apr 1911 missing; no Communion rolls prior to Apr 1911 (all noted as missing in 1954).

St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Christchurch -

  • In 1983 a motorist fell aslep at the wheel and crashed into the Church porch causing some damage to woodwork.
  • There was alwso an unspecified fire claim made in february 1984.

St David's Presbyterian Church, Sydenham, Christchurch -

  • An unspecified fire about 1927 caused £245 pounds worth of damage.
  • A further fire in 1933 caused considerable damage, the insurance claim amounting to £597 pounds.

St George's Presbyterian Church, Christchurch -

  • Board of Manager's minutes Sept 1934 to Feb 1942 missing (noted as missing in 1954).

St Giles Presbyterian Church, Christchurch -

  • Session book c.1881 to Nov 1906 missing; Baptismal register c.1881 to Jan 1926 missing; Marriage register 1891 to 1897 missing; no Communion rolls prior to 1905; Board of Manager's minutes 1911 to 1923 missing (all noted as missing in 1954).
  • The Young Men's Bible Class Room was damaged when a spark from an incinerator blew across and started a fire c.1952-53.

St John's Presbyterian Church, Lyttleton -

  • Management Committee Minutes prior to 1895 missing; Baptism register c.1864 to Aug 1883 missing; no Communion rolls prior to 1911 or between 1912 and 1916.

St Pauls Presbyterian Church, Christchurch (now known as St. Paul's Trinity Pacific Church) -

  • Board of Manager's minutes 1863 to 1907 missing (these were still extant in 1954); Baptism register 1863 to 1876 missing.
  • Some early Sunday School and Bible Class records are recorded in 1954 as having been destroyed some time in the 1940's.
  • The engraved silver and ivory handled ceremonial trowel used by Mr John Anderson at the laying of the foundation stone of the present Church building on the 6th November 1876 was known to be in the possession of his Grandson, Mr T J Anderson of 251 Wainoni Road Christchurch, as at 1964 but all trace of it had been lost when the Parish actively searched for it's whereabouts in 2009. It was subsequently discovered that the trowel in it's case was placed in a cavity within the walls of the church at some date after 1964 then sealed up for posterity! A grainy photo was taken of the trowel about 1964 which survives in the parish photographic collection.

St. Paul's Trinity Pacific Church, Christchurch :

  • A serious - and suspicious - fire in August 2009 caused at least one million dollars worth of damage to the fabric of the church including serious damage to the $800,000 pipe organ. The building was fully insured and restoration plus a previously approved Christchurch City Council heritage grant will return the building and Hills organ to their former splendour. No church records were lost in the fire.

St Peter's Presbyterian Church, Christchurch -

  • Baptism register 1900 to March 1913 missing. A note in the new register reads register "possibly in Mr MacDonald's papers when he died". The Rev Thomas MacDonald served at St Peter's 1905 to 1919 and died at Sefton in 1921 but there is no record of any attempt being made to confirm this with his family. The note may however have been written in the new register many years later.
  • The new two-storied manse occupied by the Rev Samuel Slocombe was burnt down between 1882 and 1884.
  • An insurance claim was made c.1954-55 for £190 pounds to cover "damage to [the Church] organ". The circumstances of the damage are unknown.

St Stephen's Presbyterian Church , Bryndwr, Christchurch -

  • A suspicious fire badly damaged the newly renovated Church Hall in July 1983 causing $20,000 of damage. An accelerant was found to have started the fire. Property belonging to the Bowling club was lost.

Scargill Presbyterian Church -

  • A return from 1931 states that the Parish "[held] no records of any value".

Sefton Presbyterian Church -

  • Session book prior to 1896 missing and Board of Managers minutes prior to 1887 possibly lost (noted as missing in 1954).
  • According to a record dated 1938, the Parish once issued Communion Tokens. As at this date none could be located. It is unknown if they were made of metal or card.
  • The Sefton Manse was completely burnt out in early 1968.

Sheffield Presbyterian Church -

  • Baptismal register c.1878 to Feb 1904 missing, no Communion rolls 1878 to 1918; no Marriage registers prior to 1921 (all noted as missing in 1954)

Southbridge-Dunsandel Parish -

  • Baptismal register c.1882 to 1894 missing (noted as missing in 1954).

Sumner Presbyterian Church, Christchurch -

  • An unspecified fire about 1936 caused £102 pounds worth of damage.

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