Home' Greymouth Star : March 22nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
In the early days of Cobden,
Rev G T N Watkins used to boat
across from Greymouth to take
afternoon ser vices in the school
hall, and later Cobden Anglicans
got their own vicar in residence,
Rev A J Farnell.
In 1887, Bishop Suter visited a possible
site for a future church on the corner of
Ward and Sturge streets, but it would not be
until December 1912 that it was agreed to
build a church on that site at a cost of
£323, including furnishings. Bishop Sadlier
laid the foundation stone three months later,
on March 31, 1913.
Construction eventually got under way
and a year later on March 15, 1914 ---
exactly 100 years ago last Saturday --- the
good bishop returned to consecrate the
church, dedicating it to the resurrection.
A visiting Canadian clergyman,
Rev W Venables, on a long holiday from
Saskatchewan, did a lot of work on the
furnishings. He built seats and did a lot
of the car ving work himself. He also
ministered to the parish during the war
years of 1914-18, and a memorial to him
remains in the church to this day.
Sunday School classes were held in the
nearby Cobden School gymnasium/hall, on
the corner of Fox and Taylor streets, up until
1919, when York Hall was officially opened
next to the church, named after a previous
Greymouth vicar, Archdeacon G W York at
his farewell presentation in February 1919.
In 1945, the little church was nearly blown
off its piles during a severe windstorm and
ser vices were shifted to York Hall, which
was converted into a chapel.
Many older folk who had attended the
older church mention how the church would
rock and shake on windy days.
Dalma Nimmo has attended the Cobden
church for the past 60 years.
"Soon as I was married I lived in Cobden
and the church has been an important part
of the community and continues to be now,"
Dalma said. " e church has always had
50-plus attending ser vice, but it has been up
and down over the years. It has had a lot of
ministers who didn't really stay long, young
ministers using Cobden as a start for them.
"Jean Adams, Nancy Holman and Madge
A'Court were all good members. Madge was
the first woman to help with communion,
which was a big thing back then. We have
had a lot of women's groups over the years
--- Young Wives was one, we had good
times and had a party every year. We had
fundraisers and shop days, but didn't have
raffles. e church has always had good
In 1956 a new vicarage was purchased at
93 Ward Street from Melba Batty and the
vacant section next door, owned by Ian Hay,
was acquired at the same time.
e following year, Fred Munn donated
the section on which the current church now
stands, and soon the parish hall was moved
there with a new purpose in life as the main
A side hall was added and a toilet block
and foyer constructed, officially opened in
1958. is is the Church of the Resurrection
as it stands today.
Roy Munn and
his late wife Jan
celebrated the first
white wedding there
"From a young age
living in Cobden
I attended church
every Sunday and I
with the church
up until 1981,
when I moved to
dad Fred was a lay
reader in the church
and took ser vices
every two weeks, and
also took services
in Blackball. In the
Brown and Eddie
Harding were vicars,
and then we had a
period where we had
a lot of young vicars
at regular inter vals.
In later years Tom
Hill was a popular
man and a
real character, he was one of New Zealand's
top trombonists and was one of our vicars, as
was George Spargo, who was there for four
years," Roy said.
" e church used to be the hall in Sturge
Street. Terry Birchfield from Kaiata did the
shifting. My father provided the land for it
and that is where it sits today."
Jean Adams attended the Church of the
Resurrection regularly after moving to
Cobden in the early 1950s.
"It's a good little church and I have never
had any inclination to go anywhere else. I
moved to Cobden when I got married and
have always found the church to have a very
good family atmosphere --- everyone helps
Since that time the vicarage has been
extended, the wall separating the church
proper from the side hall has been removed,
the 'Ark' added to the site and a playground
built at the rear of the church.
Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 7
Faith of our Fathers:
Old West Coast churches
Cobden Anglican Church
e Church of the Resurrection in Cobden celebrated 100 years last
weekend. PAUL McBRIDE looks back on some of the history and talks
to the faithful of this vibrant Anglican bastion of the riverside suburb.
e Cobden Anglican Church in its original site on the corner of
Sturge and Ward Street.
Moving the church hall to the current site in Richmond Street.
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