Gisborne Presbyterian Parish Our Faith Story
St Andrews Presbyterian Church
The rapidly expanding number of immigrants, mainly from Britain, settling in the Gisborne district led some dedicated Presbyterians in 1872 to arrange for the formation of a congregation and the appointment of a Minister. The initial request was made to the Auckland Presbytery who then requested the Hawkes Bay Presbytery to assist. The Rev George Morice, who came from Napier in 1872, purchased ten acres (4.05 ha.) including the school house at Matawhero, which had been used sometimes by the Anglican Church.
After the Rev G Morice left in 1873, the Rev H Root took his place and then he moved into the township of Gisborne, as it was clearly to be the future centre of population. The Presbyterian Church was the first church to hold regularly organised services in Gisborne.
The Provincial Government had donated half an acre (.2ha) on the corner of Childers Road and Cobden Street in 1873. Five founding members of St Andrews purchased an additional contiguous one and a half acres (.8ha.) facing Cobden Street.
A wooden church was built on the latter site and opened in October 1874. A manse was built in 1876 facing Childers Road. Worship services were held at many country areas by the various Ministers based at St Andrews.
Under the leadership of a succession of enthusiastic Ministers and Elders over many years, the membership expanded.
A new manse was built at 466 Childers Road in 1910. The present day church was built in 1913. The original church building continued to be used for Sunday School and Youth Bible Class activities and social occasions.
The old church was demolished and replaced by the Memorial Hall in 1954 dedicated to the 25 men from the congregation who were killed during World War II (1939-45).
St Andrew’s leaders have always been very aware of their responsibility to serve and witness to the central city, although as the city has expanded fewer people live in close proximity to the church.
The Ministers and members continue to serve in many community organisations and our church and hall are used extensively by many groups.
In recent years, several factors such as a multiplicity of competing attractions and changing working times have made the Church’s mission more difficult.
However all members are committed to promoting the focus of our Mission Statement of welcoming everyone in worship, prayer, and social activities and enabling them to explore their faith with integrity.
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