World premiere of documentary about strengthening of St Mary of Angels

a test of faith

A Test of Faith had its world premiere at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington on Thursday.

The feature-length documentary is about the seismic strengthening of St Mary of the Angels church in central Wellington.

Parish priest Father Barry Scannell, who features in the film, says it “beautifully captures” the scale and challenges of the $9.5 million rebuild.

“The whole project was a great test of faith – never really knowing if it would all work out … but the end result is just stunning,” he said.

He hopes the documentary will help shed a light on the immense amount of work that went on behind the scenes to get the church to the standard it’s at today.

“The finished film has turned out to be a remarkably rich documentary which anyone will enjoy – especially Wellingtonians who know of the church and its special place in the capital’s history.”

The film started out as just a way to document the church-strengthening project.

However, filmmakers Paul Davidson and Barbara Gibb quickly realised there was more to the story.

Now A Test of Faith tells the whole story of just how much of the church was taken apart and replaced with modern materials and innovative engineering.

“Although it was an exercise in challenging architecture and engineering, I knew that the story amongst all that could make a really rich, people-focused documentary,” Davidson says.

“The fascinating thing for me was the intertwining relationships of all those working on the site, from the architects and engineers to the labourers down on the ground.”

Proceeds from the gala, which had a price tag of $100.00 per ticket, will help fund completion of unfinished work on the church crypt, choir room and grounds.


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