By ROBYN BRISTOW
Waiau’s All Saints Church, left battered, broken and forlorn after the November 2016 earthquake, may be returned to its former glory.
The threat of demolition has hung over the landmark since the quake. Now, its future lies in the hands of a few individuals keen to see it preserved, restored and returned to the Waiau community.
The church, built of river stones, is fenced off, with its bell tower leaning precariously, its base split in two directions.
While the project is in its infancy, a purchase offer has been made with the desire to, firstly, preserve the church from further deterioration and then, over time, carry out the restoration.
Amuri Co-operating Parish Minister Colin Price says the individuals, who have requested privacy for now, propose forming a trust as a vehicle for the restoration work.
He says if a sale is finalised, matters around the trust, time-frames, resources and fundraising would become clearer.
The Anglican Church Property Trustees (CPT) hold the building in trust and its final approval is needed before there can be any sale, Mr Price explains.
Meanwhile, two meetings have been called to kick-start the rescue mission – a congregational meeting, which is required by the CPT as part of the process before any sale, and a public meeting to keep locals informed.
The first will be held on August 5 at the Rotherham Church after the 10am service.
Parishioners will be asked to vote on a Parish Council recommendation to sell the property and building “as is, where is” to a trust seeking to restore it.
The public meeting will follow on August 8, at the Waiau Community Hall at 7.30pm.
If the sale is completed, the Amuri Co-operating Parish will cease to have any formal involvement with the property.
“We are supportive of the proposal as it would be the best outcome for the community,” Mr Price says.
The church, designed by architect Cecil Wood, was dedicated in 1925 and built with a “lot of love, time and effort”.
It did not have any natural disaster insurance because, after the 2010-2011 quakes, natural disaster insurance became prohibitively expensive for church buildings.