Going, going, .........
Since the Christchurch earthquakes, our St Paul's Church has been assessed as below the acceptable earthquake risk level in the building code, and has been compulsorily closed against any further use by a congregation. This was a cruel blow to many of the congregation who had worshipped there for many years and saw it as their spiritual home. A temporary arrangement was made to gather in the foyer of the Methodist Centre for services. The Centre, to the rear of the Church building, was a more modern structure and was not deemed a risk. But such an arrangement, though it had its good points, was only a stop-gap measure, and a decision was taken about a year ago to merge the two Parish congregations of St Paul's and Melville into one, and use the Melville buildings.
But what then, for the St Paul's building? Discussions have taken place over the following months, looking at costings for strengthening the building, or possible alternatives. It came to be realised that there was a real merit in having a central city presence for Methodism in Hamilton City, and that the present site was a very valuable piece of Real Estate that should not be turned away from without very good reason. But at the same time it was realised that the old wooden building didn't appeal to the general public and there was a real need to modernise the church on the site.
The Synod Property Committee who met with the congregation encouraged us to think in terms of modernising to meet the more current needs of the city, and to think in terms of a complex that could be financially self-supporting. With these ideas being considered, an architect helped to show what could be done. Eventually the congregation held a meeting last Sunday (9th November) to try to come to a decision. Some alternative ideas were looked at by means of a Power Point Presentation, and thought to be not what was wanted, but one idea did appeal. It was to remove the wooden building and replace it with a multi-purpose building of several floors which could include a shop frontage, a worship centre above it, and several floors of office suites above that.
After a very worthwhile discussionit was recommended:
That the Congregation of the Hamilton Methodist Parish
1. endorses the concept of a multi-level, multi-purpose building on the old St Paul's site,
2. seeks the disposal of the old St Paul's building in the best way possible, and
3. asks the Parish in conjunction with the Synod and the Connexion, to develop and implement plans for the construction of an appropriateiconicbuilding.
This was agreed without dissent.So this is pointing the way to a very different future for our Methodist Church in the city of Hamilton. We pray God's blessing on this programme, and look forward with hope for its fulfilment without undue delay.
Coming, coming....Something to compare favourably with Fonterra's building next door!
A building that will stand tall amidst the other commercial buildings in London Street and proudly carry our Methodist name and presence into the future, continuing God's work in the city.