Historic church to undergo major expansion

The new facility purpose-designed by BSM Group Architects includes a new Church auditorium with state-of-the art acoustics and will accommodate up to 184 in regular Sunday worship services.

For bigger gatherings, the doors that open up to the park (near Ormiston Bridge) can fit in up to 300 people.

The old church which will be used as a chapel for smaller events.

Reverend Warner Wilder, priest-in-charge of St Paul’s in the Park says that the little church built in 1886 will remain a landmark, however there will be a lot of changes due to the new road works planned by Auckland Transport at Chapel Rd. The long-overdue road-widening of the dangerous bend near the historic Anglican Church will require much of the existing church site and the demolition of the old hall.

Auckland Council has agreed to give the church some land at Barry Curtis Park in exchange for the land they will be losing to road-widening.

Reverend Warner Wilder, priest-in-charge of St Paul’s in the Park is keen to hear from local community groups interested in using the new facility.

“Ironically all that land belonged to the Anglican Church before it was sold to the council,” says Rev Warner.

“Auckland Transport has been in discussion with the church for the last couple of years to make land available for the new structure and community facilities on the site. It will compensate for the area the church is losing to road widening,” he says.

“We see the expansion as a community project and not just for the Anglicans. The church has been reorienting its mission to serve the changing needs of a new multi-cultural city growing around it.

“Barry Curtis Park is now surrounded by a mushrooming community involving building of hundreds of new homes. This growing community is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicity and faith. Our existing congregation is a reflection of our faith,” says Rev Warner.

Rev Warner was Chaplin at Kings College for 28 years before he took on the new challenge at St Paul’s in the Park.

While the total project is estimated to cost more than $6 million, Rev Warner hopes that with an efficient fund-raising committee in place, the project should be completed by the end of 2021.

“Until now, St Paul’s has offered limited space to community groups, but the new robust space at 135m2 it will be nearly double the original size of the hall,” he says.

This space will be suitable for children and youth activities, arts and crafts, technology events, skills classes, dance groups and music. It will open out onto the park to enhance indoor/outdoor recreational activities.

Two community lounges will also be included, one for meetings of up 48 people and the other for up to 36. Both will open out to the park and will be served by kitchen facilities.

The church is keen to hear from local community groups who would be interested in using the new facility.

Contact Reverend Warner Wilder if you would like to discuss this. (warnerwilder30@gmail.com 021 548 407)