Canterbury’s First Presbyterian Church Opened – 1st February 1857

In 1986, the first Presbyterian church in Canterbury – St Andrews – was moved from Hospital Corner (the intersections of Riccarton and Hagley Aves, Oxford Terrace, Tuam and Antigua Streets) to Rangi Ruru Girls High School.

The first Presbyterian service in Canterbury was held on the last Sunday of October 1853, in a small carpentry shop in Cashel Street, owned by James Johnstone. The dream of St Andrews began in that small shop.

After a struggle to find suitable land to build a church and manse, St Andrews opened on 1 February in 1857. Three services were held that day, 691 people heading in to sit on the pews.

As the years went by, St Andrews found itself in the middle of an industrial area. The city had grown and overtook it. Then, as more Presbyterian churches opened, the foot traffic to hospital corner became less and less and the church was looking at a lonely death. Rangi Ruru Girls High School came to the rescue and the church was moved to their school grounds. Looking very much at home, St Andrews continues to service its community.

For a more in depth look at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/st-andrews-presbyterian-church/

*image courtesy of Annette Bulovic*

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