Tuesday, 28 January 2014

From the Archives of Selwyn Church, Mangere East

Selwyn Church began life as the second Holy Trinity Church in Victoria Avenue (now Mason Avenue) Otahuhu. The church was dedicated by Bishop Selwyn and Bishop Patteson on St John the Evangelist’s Day, 27 December 1863.

Ref: 4-8789, Old Holy Trinity Church, Otahuhu, c. 1900-1919, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The following poem was recently discovered among Selwyn Church’s archives. It was written by an anonymous, bored synodsman (a church member ) at the Christchurch synod in 1969, probably during a lengthy and tedious debate on the ordination of women.  Enjoy!

The issue was of some vexation
And shook the Synod’s proud foundation
‘She’-ordination had been mooted
A thing against tradition rooted
The question raised a great debate
Should a woman celebrate
A lady priest in Church no less
Would she wear surplice or mini-dress?
She’d certainly have a busy life
Priest, confessor, mother, wife
With marriages, baptisms, pots and lids
Meetings of vestry and bathing the kids
You must stay away you heartless sinner
From 3 to 6 she’s cooking dinner
No meetings on Tuesday
That’s quite firm
For that’s her day for set and perm.
An Anglo-Catholic would strike some bother
Calling her Father – or is it Mother?
I’d be in doubt, I do confess
Should she be priest or maybe priestess?
I really wonder if fashion decrees
Cassock to ankles or up past knees
And think of the grief when the sermon’s begun
The Vicar finds that a nylon has started to run.
The thought of that Vicar fair gets me down
‘Twould cause a plaster saint to frown
On top of these things that all need fixin’
Would she be Vicar, Vicaress or Vixen?
I’m so confused my head’s awhirl
Should my Vicar be a girl
While some object on grounds of theology
To me it’s a case of simple biology.

Ref: 4-8793,Old Holy Trinitiy Church, Otahuhu, c. 1900-1919, Sir George Grey Special Collections
About 21 November 1927 Holy Trinity was dismantled and loaded onto two trailers, and a traction engine towed each trailer to the corner of First Avenue (now Hain Avenue) Mangere East. It took two days to complete the move, and Mr Rhodes, the removal contractor, had some trouble getting the old church safely across the railway line at Mangere Crossing. The timbers of the old steeple were not strong enough to survive the ordeal. Therefore when the church was re-erected in Mangere East the steeple had to be altered and shortened. The church was re-dedicated as Selwyn Church by Archbishop Averill on Palm Sunday, 1 April 1928.

Ref: 4-3746, Selwyn Church, Mangere East, 1928, Sir George Grey Special Collections
In Otahuhu, the wooden church was replaced by a bigger brick building, which was dedicated by that busy man Archbishop Averill on 14 October 1928.

Ref: 4-8791, Showing Holy Trinity Church, Otahuhu, 1928, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Author: Chris Paxton, South Auckland Research Centre

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