First church rebuild completed after Christchurch earthquakes


The director of the Christchurch Bishop’s Pastoral Office, Mike Stopforth, says he is “thrilled” to have the rebuild of St Mary’s Church in New Brighton, Christchurch completed, especially because it is the first parish church in the diocese to be rebuilt since the 2011 earthquakes.

The congregation had been meeting in a nearby community hall while the earthquake-damaged church was painstakingly rebuilt.

An opening ceremony for the newly-finished building drew a large crowd on Sunday.

Dozens of parishioners gathered in the car park ahead of Sunday’s service, which included speeches from the pastoral council, the building’s architect, Paul Foley, and Christchurch East MP Poto Williams.

The opening ceremony also served as the first formal event for the Christchurch’s newly-ordained bishop, Paul Martin.

A plaque commemorating the opening of the church was unveiled and blessed.

“The local community have worked very hard on the rebuild of the church. The new church is beautiful and will serve the community well for years to come,” said Stopforth.

He said there had been a “signification process around the design of the church and rebuild”.

With stark white walls and a large black cross marking the main entrance, the building looked very different compared to the orange brick exterior it had previously.

Within greater Christchurch, 11 diocese-owned churches, including St Mary’s in New Brighton, were demolished after the quakes. Seven others were severely damaged and unable to be used and, of those, five are yet to be repaired.

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