Saturday, June 15, 2024

Foundation stone blessing for historic Hastings church rebuild

A special celebration has marked the start of the construction of Wesley Methodist Church’s new community centre in Hastings.

Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst and district councillor, Peleti Oli joined the congregation, Church leaders from around the country, and representatives from the construction company at a blessing of the foundation stone at the project site on the corner of Hastings and Eastbourne Streets.

Hastings District Council is a strong supporter of this project, and we are very excited about this new community asset for our people and our visitors to enjoy, Mayor Hazlehurst said.

“It also provides a complementary space right next to what is quickly developing into our city’s conference hub.”

“With the new Quest Apartment Hotel being built just behind Toitoi, and the refurbishment of the Municipal Buildings almost complete, the church and hall will be right in the middle of all the action,” the Mayor said.

With Toitoi being the home of arts, culture and hospitality, she said it was great that the Wesley Church with its new Community Centre would be a part of that.

The new building will replace the original church hall which was recently demolished, and has been in the planning for about seven years, said Reverend Iakopo Faafuata, the Parish Superintendent.

“The parish hall was opened in 1953 and played host to a wide variety of community groups and social programmes, which are both administered by the church and independently run.”

These include Alcoholics Anonymous, Country Women’s Institute, Sikh Martial Arts, Highland Dancing, a playcentre, youth suicide prevention seminars and family violence workshops.

“The Community Centre will be a new, more modern and fit for purpose facility including a new auditorium with seating for up to 250 people, a large kitchen, and three new multi purpose meeting rooms.”

Mr Faafuata said it was hoped construction would be completed by the end of this year.

The Wesley Methodist Church has been a part of the Hastings Community since 1878, when the Rev. W G Oliver secured a quarter acre section from Mr. Thomas Tanner for the purpose of building a church. In 1906, a hall was erected by the young men of the congregation at no cost to the Church. In 1953, a new Parish Hall was opened. It was designed to cater for the wide programme of church activities and provide facilities for the public’s cultural activities.

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