Kaikorai Presbyterian Church



Kaikorai Presbyterian Church has stood at the crossroads for 140 years, but as early as 1852 pioneer families trudged along bush tracks and muddy roads, (for those days the bush extended from Flagstaff to the shore) for weekly prayer meetings, first in Hood Hall (now Ferntree House), and then at Wakari School. As a mission outpost of Knox Church a minister preached weekly at the school.  The need for a church grew and with self-sacrifice and faith, £477 was raised, and a modest wooden building with a shingle roof was erected on land gifted by Miss Helen Hood.  This was the first Kaikorai Presbyterian Church albeit still operating as a “daughter” of Knox Church. The first service was held in 1866.  Such was the faith and growth of the congregation that in 1868 they were established as an independent congregation and authorised to call a minister, the first of many who served not only the church but also the community.  That first church building became too small, and again the congregation met the challenge, and with extensions, a second church came into being in 1880.  As the congregation grew so did the district, with the advent of the Roslyn Mills and the cablecars.  In 1906, again in faith, a tender of £2750 was accepted for the erection of a new church.  The Mayor of Roslyn laid the foundation stone (beneath which is a time capsule!), and in 1907 the third church held its first service.  It stands, today, on the site of the old wooden church which was moved to the rear of the grounds to serve as a hall.  In the brick church four stained glass windows were installed to honour founding members.  The original wooden church was demolished to make way for the present hall, which is in constant use by both church and community. By 1918 there were twelve places of worship in the area prompting thoughts of union.  But it was not until the centenary of the church that it became part of the West Dunedin Union, serving the districts of Wakari, Halfway Bush, Brockville and Kaikorai – the very areas from which those early settlers traveled to worship, and Waitati.  We had union too with the Roslyn Methodist Church and the local Congregational and Church of Christ churches.  Today the pendulum has swung and we are again Kaikorai Presbyterian Church. The 138 years have seen the rule of six sovereigns, the emergence of the depression (during which the congregation gave unobtrusive unemployment assistance), and two world wars.  The church has moved with changing times, with heated and earnest discussion as to whether organ music should be permitted, and decades later whether dancing should be permitted at Bible Class socials! Should those founding members see us now, they would wonder at our form of worship, the way in which we meet the needs of our young people, but they would rejoice that the message, and the mission, so dear to them, remains unchanged – to live together and serve each other in love.   ~ Mary Cumming.

Today Kaikorai Church remains at the heart of the community.  With it’s doors open throughout the week the congregation and community share these premises for a wide variety of purpose. Today we are thankful for our forebears who planned and scrimped and saved and provided facilities which have stood the test of time, and wear and tear from thousands of users – young and old.  We are thankful for their vision and dedication and we who call Kaikorai Church, home, are determined to continue to build for and serve the Kaikorai community for many years to come.   This is why in recent years we have instigated many community events (‘Kaikorai Carols; Children’s Day) and family friendly activities such as Mainly Music, PlayGroup, and the Youth work which we share with Brockville Community Church.  This is why we operate Indoor Bowls and Walking Groups, and why we offer Alpha and provide various other opportunities to assist people of this community to build value into their lives.

It is also why we have recently completed work on an administration block to better serve our community, and why we are ‘slowly’ refurbishing the exterior of our historic church, and why shortly you will see further work done on the carpark and grounds.  You see we’ve been here for 140 years, and God willing it is our commitment to be here well into the future, worshipping God and sharing the love of Jesus within the Kaikorai community and beyond.  We invite you to join us in worship and exploration as together we discover how great and constant is the love of God revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

Last Updated (Saturday, 01 August 2009 14:54)

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