Consider the options - Churches of the past - Timaru

The Timaru Presbyterian Parish goal was to change from maintenance to mission which was one of the reasons for the formation of one Timaru Parish in March 2009 so ended up with an excess of buildings. St. Stephen's was the first to be sold followed by Trinity West and the manse. St. Paul's, Seddon St, was demolished in July 2014.

St. Stephen's Washdyke - This was a Presbyterian Church. The foundation stone reads: To the Glory of God 1965 Minister Rev. W. P. Eggelton. South Canterbury Museum has the records of the Presbyterian Parish of St Stephens, including the St Stephens and Washdyke churches, covering the period of 1960-1990.  The property was placed on the market in 2010. 5802m² tract of land. Dual access from Hilton Hwy and Seadown Rd. 

St. Stephen's Washdyke -
Continue as a church, or community hall or future subdivision or residential property. Maybe an answer to your prayers!

The Temuka Trinity Presbyterian Church in the background with the steeple was demolished in March 2012 as it was damaged in the September 2010 earthquake. The bell was saved and a stained glass window. Services were held in the parish hall next to the church, on the corner of Hally Tce and Wilmshurst Rd, after engineers declared the church unsafe. Former Presbyterian church hall, 49 Halley Tce. Temuka. Be it a hunting lodge, cooking school, family home and business, investment option, cafe, wedding centre, corporate events or simply living in a magnificent building.  A rimu staircase leading to mezzanine floor. The balustrade that wraps around the floor to give a balcony feeling.

Dec. 2009 Gm photo

Oct. 2014. MT.
Oct. 2014 photo Presbyterian Church Hall. Note the finial at the far end is strapped down to the roof. The roof need painting. The front doors have had a new coat of paint.

2019 photo. The church's main hall, a two-storey, red brick building was sold into private ownership in 2002. There is a three-tier fountain, the hand-forged wrought iron entrance gates swinging off hand-built stone block walls, and the timber floorboards. During the redevelopment process, builders even discovered a 'secret room' containing the dated signatures of the tradesmen who built the church in 1913. The 451 square metre building sits on 1350 square metres of land.

St David's Union Church in Marchwiel - A Methodist and Presbyterian union parish. The church was established in 1951 as a union parish for Presbyterian and Methodists at 48 Andrew Street, Timaru. It was a result of a suburban boom in Marchwiel. In those days the houses were full of children and every family went to church. Today 2010 it is a childcare centre with paintings on the walls and fences around. St David’s Union Church in Marchwiel was sold and in July 2007 the church building was decommissioned. “We still had four members who had worshipped at St David's for all 55 years of its life. They remember raising money to build it. You choose a church not because of the building but because of the love and support of the congregation. When the church moves, the love in the hearts of the people moves with it. A plaque that expresses people’s memories of St David’s hangs in the childcare centre. 

Photo taken from 37 Andrew St.
Looking north from 37 Andrew St. late 1960s.

Google maps. Dec. 2009
48 Andrew St. is now a Kindergarten.

I can just work out where the cross was on the wall. 

Catholic Church of St. Joseph and hall 42 Douglas St., Timaru. Sunday mass has not been celebrated at the Douglas St church since mid-2009. Put up for sale in August 2013.

St. Joseph, Douglas St. 
This stone was blessed and laid by the Right Revd Matthew J. Brodie D.D. Bishop of Christchurch 24th April 1938. photo The St Joseph's Timaru North, and Sacred Heart parishes merged in 2012, with about 600 churchgoers attending mass each week in 2013. Behind the church is a large hall, the grey stone building, was constructed in 1958. When in 2011 it was announced by Bishop Barry Jones that the two Catholic parishes in Timaru were to be suppressed and a new parish formed Jeannette Cooke set out to write a book to preserve the history of the town’s parishes. ‘‘The priests and sisters who served us so well, the strong characters of the men and women who formed that early parish, the countless societies, sodalities and clubs needed to be remembered and recorded. The community that worshipped in St Patrick’s Church at Washdyke, the Home of Compassion, the Marist Novitiate at Claremont and the two St Joseph’s Schools all had their own stories.’’ The book was published Oct. 2013.The Northenders' the History of St. Joseph's Timaru North Parish email  $20. plus $5 P&P



Saint Matthews Anglican Chapel, Kingsdown Anglican Church 1905-1960s, it was deconsecrated about 1962 and was a guest house/convention centre. It stood on the rise as you sweep round the corner on way to Pareora at 10 Bristol Rd. In 2012 it is a B&B and now in 2014 a function centre.

Holy Trinity, Orari

Holy Trinity, Orari
Around the parish

The Geraldine News 3 June 2011 Holy Trinity, Orari
St Mary’s vicar, the Reverend John Hayhoe, says the decision to discontinue services at the church was made by the congregation.“The congregation was getting smaller and we recently lost two particularly supportive ladies. The church is too small for weddings, so they all go up to Geraldine anyway.” The service was to be a de-consecration, but the church was never consecrated in the first place, so it was more of a ‘going-out song’. The Holy Trinity Church had a very colourful history, which started in 1890 when it was built as the original Anglican Church on Talbot St. The congregation soon outgrew the wooden building, so the church that we now know as we now know as St Mary’s, was built. An early photograph shows the two churches side by side before the old one was shifted down to Orari in 1905. Records show that the shift was performed by three traction engines hauling the building on rollers. One can only wonder how long this took and how they managed to cross the Waihi River.  The Orari congregation was established in 1906. Once the church was in place in Oak Street, Orari, a Sunday school room was built behind it in 1923.  The original church featured a three light altar window donated in 1912. In 1925 the church burnt down and services were simply moved to the Sunday school rooms. Fragments from the window were later used in the design and construction of the Macdonald window, added to the St Mary's collection in 1997. By 1944, the rooms were officially considered as the church.  “In true Kiwi style they just moved next door and carried on" Mr Hayhoe says. “They never got round to having the building consecrated.” During an open home at the church when it was for sale, even more history about the building came to light. Several people came in just for a look and said they’d had school lessons in the building after the Orari School burnt down. They’d used the church as a classroom while the school was re-built.”


St Luke's Anglican Church, Fairview

The Timaru Herald 22 June 2006
Fairview to lose church after 55 years serving community
St Lukes in Fairview, a church built on the enthusiasm of parishioners 55 years ago, will soon close. Its final service will be held on August 27. Hilda Hawke was involved in the original fundraising for the church and has been its florist. She has been to most services for the past 45 years. Her husband Rob Hawke was lay preacher for 30 years. "He was so good you would have thought he was the vicar." In St Lukes' early days the church would be so full that some of the men stood outside and listened. A Catholic farming family, the Hartnett's donated the land and the small, simple brick church was built through local fundraising. Mrs Hawke opened her home after church. "We'd have a cup of tea and put the world to rights." Her in-law Gaylene Leslie became organist at 11 and played mostly by ear. "Dad hung his hanky out when it was the last verse." She was also to be the Sunday school teacher. The church stuck to the Anglican liturgy and formal hymns. "We stuck to the traditional not the happy clappy," Mrs Hawke said. But many long time farming families shifted or their children moved away from church. And many of the lifestyle people who moved to the country later last century were not church goers. Mrs Leslie returned to Fairview in the mid '80s and the church was no longer such a focal point of the community. She said it was sad the church she had attended with family and witnessed events like baptisms was closing. However, the falling off of the congregation had been apparent. Apart from Christmas the congregation numbered about half-a-dozen at most of the fortnightly services. Priest Chris Saunders said the vestry of St Peters, St Lukes and St Marks Otipua proposed the closure to the diocese executive. And at the end of the month the St Lukes parishioners will consider how they would like the church to be disposed of. Their recommendation will then go to the diocese executive. Mr Saunders said once the church represented Fairview Anglican's strong desire to have their own church. And in St Lukes' early days it was a central part of the community and testament to their faith.

Photo taken 1st Dec. 2007 by Margaret Todd
Photo taken 1st Dec. 2007. St Lukes is not longer a church but a private residence since 2006. The weather beaten sign still stands in the front and reads "Services 9.30 am 2nd Sunday each Month". All Welcome.  There are still two crosses on the roof and windows with tracery. The yard has two beautiful evergreen ornamental conifer trees, lawsonianas, to the right, a silver birch in front to the left and the tall tree behind the "house" is an eucalyptus.
Photo taken by Margaret Todd, 1st Dec. 2007.

St. Mary, Winchester  

This Roman Catholic Church was on corner of SH1 and turnoff to Geraldine in Winchester township, on the main road on the site of the old Winchester Hotel. The foundations were started on November 30, 1953. Built of hand made concrete block. 3300 blocks measuring 18 inches by 8 inches by 4 inches weighing 42 lbs each were made beside St Joseph’s church in Temuka. 90 more had to be made to finish the job. Closed in 1982, sold and converted into a house in 1986. The stained glass windows were made by Bradley Brothers. Three of the stained glass windows were re-used as interior windows in the Tinwald church, the remainder going to Green Island church in Dunedin. In March 2011 for sale again.

 Wesleyan Church - Pareora West - torn down

Located in the Pareora West Cemetery, Beaconsfield Road, Otipua.  May, 2007 - Photos by M.T. "Now we have gone further up Beaconsfield Road to the Pareora West Cemetery.  Very overgrown but monuments still stand proudly, including the Boer War Memorial. I was interested in a large stone standing at left side of cemetery. It commemorates a Wesleyan church built on the site in 1870. "
    The Wesleyan church was completed before Christmas 1870 by Mr Charles Chivers who had the contract to build the church and pews for £57. The timber for the church, totara, was £33 and the totara shingles £5 5s.  The cemetery grew around the church as it was being built.  The first wedding May 22, 1871 at the Wesleyan Chapel, Upper Pareora, by the Rev. R. Bavin, William Clarke, to Catherine Ward, eldest daughter of Robert Ward, farmer, Pareora. Robert and Elizabeth Ward  were the first settlers to purchase land along the Pareora River. Robert was killed in 1875 when the dray he was riding capsized on Mt. Horrible Rd and the horses found their own way home. The eldest son was John and left school at age 12 to work. Robert Ward, Catherine age 4, and his second wife, Elizabeth, had arrived  on the Strathallan on 1st Jan. 1859. Elizabeth went on to marry twice more, outliving both husbands and she died in 1927. Wards Rd is near land that was leased by John Ward between Holme Station and Pareora Estate. John married Louisa Chivers in 1884. Her father was Charles Chivers who built the chapel. Louisa. This couple is also buried at the church cemetery. The first person interned was James Bell on 26 October 1870 with the land donated by Mr Chamberlain. The first christening was baby James Chamberlain. In 1963 the Levels County Council took over the care of the cemetery. The cemetery up to 1946 had 61 interments. The church deteriorated. The last service was in 1958. The church was demolished in May 1966. The walls were filled with clay and difficult to pull down. The stone on the old site 25 April 1971. Additional Reading: Tragedies Triumphs Treasures of Timaru & South Canterbury by Colin Townsend, page 27 - 31.

Timaru Herald 22nd May 1884
WARD - CHIVERS. On the 15th May, at the residence of the bride's father, Beaconsfield, by the Rev. W. Fairclough, John Ward, farmer, Pareora, to Louisa, second daughter of Mr C. Chivers.

Photo taken May 2007 by Margaret Todd.

Photo taken May 2007 by Margaret Todd.  

St. Mary's, Makikihi, sold in 2010

The Catholic St. Mary's at Makikihi. Photo taken by Margaret Todd on 24 Oct. 2007.
St Mary's (1903-2010) on State Highway 1 at Makikihi was made of Quinn bricks which came from the factory nearby. No longer a church - sold in 2010 and the two Quinn stained glass windows removed to Waimate.  April 2012 photo

Evening Post, 9 June 1903, Page 5
Waimate, 8th June. Bishop Grimes opened the new Catholic Church at Makikihi on Sunday. The day was beautifully fine, and the ceremony was largely attended, representatives from every port of this portion of the county being present. The collection amounted to 156 pounds, made up of small donations. The new building is of brick and stone, and is commodious for a country church. The Bishop is being entertained at a "social" this evening by the Waimate parishioners, who will present him with a donation towards the Cathedral fund.

Evening Post, 7 October 1902, Page 5
Waimate, 6th October. The foundation stone of the new Catholic Church at Makikihi was laid on Sunday afternoon by Bishop Grimes. Mr. Nicholas Quinn gave the site and �200 towards the cost of erection. The collection of the ceremony amounted to 184 pounds.

Our New Zealand Cousins - by James Inglis- 1887 - 311 pages
At Makikihi I find a snug village. A steam threshing-machine is at work in a field close to the railway station, and as far as the eye can reach, it follows farm after farm, and takes in cottages, corn-ricks, trim plantations, hedge-rows, and busy ploughing teams. When I was last here [20years ago], Makikiki was purely a flax swamp and its only famous as being a grand shooting ground for ducks. Waimate too! I remember when there was but the home station her, one "bush pub," and forge, and a few sawyers' huts. Now the dense bush has all been cut away. Waimate is the terminus of a branch railway, and can boast stores, hotels, and buildings.

Gunn's Bush 2011

Timaru Herald 5/03/2008
The decline in numbers of youth in church has led to the sale of the iconic Gunn's Bush Methodist Camp. The camp, near Waimate, is on the market after struggling to be economically viable for the past few years. The camp had been around since about 1960 after a trust was set up to raise the money for its construction in 1956. It was built with a lot of voluntary labour and people have spent a lot of time over the years looking after it. Now run by a group of South Canterbury volunteers Rev they had reached a point where its original use, which was primarily church camps for young people, was no longer being met. It's not getting the use by the target group. Its lack of use has largely reflected the decrease in numbers of young people attending church. In the 1950s and 60s there were large Sunday schools and youth groups they were now much smaller - an estimated less than quarter the size they used to be. In the last five years the camp had particularly been struggling to get the numbers of people to make it economic to run. The sale of the camp will certainly disappoint some schools and community groups which use the premises. Girl Guides have held a number of camps and events at Gunn's Bush over the years. It's great because the facilities are all there, and it's not too far away. The money from the sale would go to other forms of ministry within South Canterbury with a focus on young people. The camp had a quotable value of $500,000.

Methodist Archives Christchurch has Architectural Plans
Gunns Bush Camp Site, Waimate  ca 1970s Sleeping Accommodation 204, Later additions: Sick Bays, Chapel, Canteen,  Book room, Canteen, Kitchen, Bunk rooms and Hall
South Canterbury Methodist District Youth Council's Permanent Camp Site at Gunn's Bush, R.S. 16667 C.T. 353/244 1p
Gunns Bush Camp Site 1957 Proposed Methodist Youth Camp, Gunn's Bush, Waimate 1p APS1904 8306 copy John S. Arthur
1977 New Swimming Pool at
Gunns Bush, R.E. Litter,
1974 Swimming Pool - Lovell-Smith & Crisp

Morley, William.  The History of Methodism in New Zealand - Page 456 online.
Pareora is the second place in the circuit. Mr Bull started at Mr Chivers, Pig Hunting Creek, near the township of Beaconsfield. A class was formed there by the Guscott, Priest, Rapsey, Ward and Gilchrist families. Week evening services were occasionally held at Mr Elworthy's station. In 1870 a church was built to seat 110 persons at a cost of £140. Nine years since a commodious vestry was added at a further outlay of £46.

Otago Witness,
12 October 1904, Page 32
Mr John Jackson on Friday presented the trustees of the Timaru Wesleyan Church with a town section for which he paid £500.

Evening Post, 2 April 1912, Page 7
The Rev. W. Baumber, who leaves Timaru shortly for Nelson, was the guest at a farewell gathering of the Timaru Wesleyan congregation last evening, and was presented with a purse of sovereigns. There were many expressions of regret that the minister's health made a change desirable.


Timaru Herald 16 May 2012 Morven Presbyterian Church is on the market.
The parish is moving its ministry to neighbouring Glenavy as it seeks to rationalise the use of church buildings. Minister Bill Penno says the Glenavy church will be used for worship services from now on. The Morven church is weatherboard and has a rimu panel interior. It was built in 1906. The church hall and three sections will go on the market with it. St Matthews Anglican Church in Morven was sold some years ago and its bell moved to a specially constructed tower at Morven Presbyterian Church. A hefty increase in earthquake insurance premiums had influenced the decision to sell.
"We don't see it as our mission to keep buildings that are not being used." A closing service will be held at the church on Sunday at 10am.

Otago Witness 28 February 1906, Page 38
Church. The Presbyterians have decided to build a church at Morven, and the tender of Mr Gillies, of Oamaru, has been accepted. This is a step in the right direction, as church held in a schoolroom is never very satisfactory. Bazaar. The Morven ladies are making big preparations for the bazaar to be held in May in aid of the Hall Fund.

Timaru Herald, 19 February 1897, Page 3
A new way of paying off a church debt has been thought out in an Otago rural district. The local barber went for a lengthened holiday, and in his absence a zealous churchwarden undertook to cut the hair of as many customers as chose to drop a shilling into the collection bag.  

Otago Witness, 14 September 1904, Page 59
Saturday last, at Timaru, a number of boys, whose ages ranged from nine to 16 years, were charged with throwing stones and causing willful damage to gravestones in the Beaconsfield churchyard. The accused, while waiting for Sunday school to open, placed a tin on the top of a marble headstone, and amused themselves by throwing stones at the tin, some of the stones hitting the headstone and knocking chips off it. On another afternoon they broke the top off a marble headstone by throwing stones at it. The parents of the lads undertook to pay for the damage done in this case, and the stipendiary magistrate convicted the boys of willful damage, and ordered them to come up for sentence when called upon.

Timaru Herald, 3 April 1895, Page 3
The Baptist Church who have disposed of their church premises in North street to the Congregational Church held their closing services on Sunday last. At the evening service the Rev. C. C. Brown preached to a crowded congregation, nearly every seat being filled, his text being the words of God to Moses when the people of Israel were m difficulty at the Red Sea— "Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward." The burden of the sermon was an earnest appeal to the Church not to be discouraged because of the present trial, but to go forward and overcome all difficulties. When the church building was destroyed by fire by years ago, they did not lose heart, but went forward and plodded on, and now that circumstances had forced them to sell this property still let them go forward, earnestly contending for those distinctive principles which are the common ground of all Baptist Churches. The preacher remarked that though a bad habit sanctions the custom of calling the building where people worship a "Church" yet strictly speaking no statement can be more inaccurate. It is the living people who consitute the Church, the dead bricks and mortar merely form the convenient place in which the Church meets for devotional purposes. The Timaru Baptist Church to-day (like Israel of old) unhappily find themselves in difficulties, having on their shoulders a pecuniary burden too heavy for them longer to bear, and therefore are forced to find relief therefrom, the only way being the exceptionally drastic one of selling the church property. But the church is not sold. It remains (with its Sunday School) free to work on and under its present pastorate will continue its corporate existence with a less heavy pecuniary liability. Their future would be according to God's appointment, yet lie and those working with him would do their very best to deserve success and would hope that presently thoughts of erecting a new place of worship would enter their mind and take practical shape. Anyhow for the immediate present— the church and himself go forward considerably eased from monetary anxiety, starting afresh with a new lease of life, and with a prayer to God for prosperity. Next Sunday the Baptist Church and School meet in the Sophia Street Hall.

Timaru Herald, 9 April 1895, Page 2
On Sunday last the members of the Congregational Church held special services to celebrate the occasion of their again taking possession of their old premises in North street, the Rev. B. T. Hallowes, B.A., being the preacher. Last evening a tea meeting was held in the church, when there was a good attendance. The tables, six in number, were presided over by Mesdames Huggins, North, Hollow, Harrop, W. Buckingham, and Miss M. Brooks, assisted by the Misses North (3), Harrop, Williams, and Avison. After the tables were cleared the meeting started about 8 o'clock, the pastor of the church, the Rev. Mr Williams, presiding. The Rev. Messrs Hallowes, Gillies, Sharp, and Beecroft addressed. the meeting, each in turn congratulating the pastor and congregation on again becoming the occupants of the church. Additional interest attached to the present gathering owing to the fact that the Rev. Mr Hallowes, the founder of the Congregational Church in Timaru, about 13 years ago, was among them. During the evening songs and instrumental music were rendered by Misses Williams and Peters, Messrs Hooper, Bold, and Wood's string band; At the conclusion, Mr George Hogben proposed and Mr Harrop seconded, a hearty vote of thanks.

The Congregational Church at Timaru was formed January 4th, 1877. when the Rev. B. Hallowes, B.A.. was elected pastor. Services were then held in the Mechanics' Institute Hall. The membership rapidly increased. A sits was purchased in North street in October of the same year, and a contract let in September, 1878, for the erection of the front half of the present building, the price being £1017. The opening services were held February, 1879. In September, 1880, a contract for the enlargement of the building was let for £749 12s. In June, 1882, Mr Hallowes resigned the pastorate and left for England after five and a half years' of earnest and; successful labour. In November, 1884, the membership was 86. The present pastor, Rev. G. Burgess, F.R.A.S., continues to carry on the work with success, and only time is needed to ensure a strong fellowship being built up under his ministry.

A Church bell would never speak of a funeral unless it was tolled.

The Old Church
What! tear the old church down, you say, and build a modern one
That we can look upon with pride upon and boast of when 'tis done?
With lots of little rooms below for festivals and fairs,
And one big room for preachin', with its pews and easy chairs?

What's wrong about the dear old church we've worshipped in so long!
The walls are good, the clapboards tight, the windows sound and strong;
I'll own the roof is leakin' some, but that can be made right,
A shingle stuck in here and there will make the old roof tight.

I tell you, brethren, that the old church seems like a life-long friend;
Sweet memories clusterin' round there will last till life shall end.
Each timber, joist, and board, and nail seems speaking with a tongue,
And tellin' of the good done here since you and I were young.

Beside that dear old alter there just fifty years to-day,
I knelt and begged for pardon, and Christ washed my sins away,
And, through old Time has thinned my hair and leached white as snow,
That alter is as dear to me as fifty years ago.

The sermons that we've listened to from holy men of God,
Whose bodies now are lyin' cold beneath the churchyard sod,
Seem ringin' in my ears to-day, and full of truth
And when I listened to them in the merry days of youth.

I seem to hear the preacher's voice say, "Brethren let us pray."
And all the congregation kneel in the old-fashioned way;
I seem to hear the thrillin' shouts of "Glory" and "Amen"
Responding from the people's hearts and echoin' again.

I seem to hear those old time hymns we all so loved to sing,
That used to swell from ev'ry heart, and make the old church bell ring.
There's one now ringin' on my ears- "Let angels prostrate fall,
Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all!"

'Twould seem too much sacrilege to tear that alter down;
I'm afraid God wouldn't bless that deed, but rather on it frown.
No, brethren, not a dollar will you get from my old hand!
I'd rather give five hundred more and let the old church stand!

by H.H. Johnson, The Australian Journal. June 1891

Waimate Advertiser Tuesday 29th May 1900 page 3

South CanterburyGenWeb Project Home Page

Under the Historic Places Act it is illegal to destroy, damage or modify an archeological site without the authority of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. An archaeological authority is required for the demolition of any building or structure constructed prior to 1900.

Timaru Herald, 9 February 1895, Page 2
The Rev. B. T. Hallowes, B.A., founded the Congregational Church at Timaru about seventeen years ago.

Editorial: Shame about the churches
Peter O'Neill 28/03/2013 - The Timaru Herald
When Chalmers Church was built in 1904, it would have been a beacon on the skyline.
It still is; we've just got used to it. But we'll certainly notice it if it's gone, which has to be a prospect now that local Presbyterians have agreed it should be sold. And if sold, there's every chance it could be pulled down, which would be a shame. Older churches add character to a town, and harbour fond memories for worshippers. Worshippers whose forebears would have worked hard to raise the money to build them. The prospect of demolition is possible because a change of use would trigger $1 million worth of earthquake strengthening work. That's a lot of money. And there has to be a limited market for a church in the first place.
The congregation has swallowed a practical yet bitter pill here. It's not the earthquakes that have forced the issue, it's falling numbers. Sure, the earthquakes haven't helped, but this was a decision waiting to be made. Having 200 regular Presbyterian churchgoers with four churches in Timaru doesn't make sense, so a hard call has been made. Chalmers and St Paul's in Seddon Street will be sold, Trinity Church in College Rd is likely to be sold later leaving the congregation at a revamped St Stephen's in Wai-iti Rd. The Presbyterian church in Pleasant Point has been closed, and Trinity Presbyterian in Temuka was demolished a year ago. The Anglican Church faces its own dilemma. Its pride and joy, St Mary's, has been closed for more than a year even though it legally does not have to be. It requires strengthening work of $1 million to bring it up to 67 per cent of the building code, and this after having spent $900,000 on restoring it. The church has expressed a determination to do the work, and for the town's sake the hope is it will. There are three other Anglican churches in Timaru. The two main Catholic churches in Timaru remain open, but St Joseph's in Temuka and St Mary's in Pleasant Point have closed. There's a fair bit of praying to be done before we know finally which special buildings we'll keep and which we'll lose. Whether we go to church or not, simply by living here we all have a stake in the outcome.