Blessing of restored Christ figure in Futuna Chapel on Sunday

Absent for 12 years, the recently recovered and restored Christ figure will be returned to the currently empty cross in Futuna Chapel on Sunday March 17th 2013.  There will be a public bi-cultural unveiling and blessing ceremony of the re-instated figure at Futuna Chapel at 10am, before the Open Day which will begin at 1pm

The discovery in late August 2012 in rural North Taranaki of a lost carving of the crucified Jesus Christ, 12 years after it was stolen from the Futuna Chapel in Wellington, was very welcome news to the Friends of Futuna Charitable Trust, the guardians of the statue’s original home.

The 160cm tall figure of Christ was hand-carved from mahogany by noted New Zealand sculptor Jim Allen in 1961, for the crucifix that completed the award-winning design of Futuna Chapel by architect John Scott.

When the figure was first found Allen expressed his delight at its rediscovery. “This is a red-letter day for all of us and brings to a close our endless speculation as to its whereabouts. I look forward to its re-installation and further confirmation of John Scott’s vision for the Futuna Chapel”.

Although the chapel is no longer a consecrated church, the Christ figure was part of Scott’s original architectural vision for the chapel, and its recovery provides a sense of completeness in the on-going restoration of the building. The Trust has been encouraging the use of the chapel for community events, so that its unique design and spiritual qualities can be enjoyed and appreciated as widely as possible.

Shonagh Kenderdine, the patron of the Futuna Trust and Chair of the Historic PLaces Trust Board, says “The return of the Christ figure to Futuna has great spiritual, cultural and architectural significance for New Zealanders. The figure is the mauri (life-force) of the chapel. Te Hokinga Mai (the Returning) began today with the figure’s road journey from Taranaki to Wellington under the protection of the New Zealand Police, who have been so instrumental in its return”.

Mark Burry, NZ architect and now Professor of Design at RMIT Melbourne, will present the 2013 Futuna lecture in New Zealand starting in Auckland on 13 March, followed by Christchurch on 14 March and Futuna Chapel in Wellington on Sunday 17 March following the public open day.



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News category: New Zealand.

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