Volume I. Number I. November, 1841.
Parish Churches in New Zealand.
THE Lord Bishop of New Zealand having requested the Cambridge Camden Society to furnish him with designs and models for the Cathedral church of the new Dioceses, and for the Parish churches which will be first erected, it cannot but be deeply interesting to members of that Society to be made acquainted with the steps which his Lordship proposes to take with respect to the erection of temples for the worship of Almighty GOD, on his arrival in his Diocese.
As soon as possible after setting foot in New Zealand, it is his intention to use as a temporary church, a tent which he carries with him for that purpose; an Altar, with its necessary appurtenances, being erected in its eastern end. Here the daily service of our Church will be commenced on the first morning after the Bishop's arrival, never thenceforth to be silenced till the end of all things.
A piece of ground will next be marked out and consecrated on the site of the future Cathedral: not with any intention of erecting hastily a building, which might by courtesy bear that name, but that the remains of those who depart in the true faith may be interred in consecrated ground; and, if need be, that a temporary wooden edifice may serve at present for the offices of prayer and praise. In a country where labour is worth three times as much as it is in England, the erection of a Choir is to the most sanguine mind as much as, perhaps more than, can be hoped for during the present generation. But whatever is built will be built solidly and substantially, and as our ancestors built.
The ingenuity of the natives in carving is well known; and it is the Bishop's design to convert this faculty to the glory of God. For this purpose the Cambridge Camden Society will furnish working models of the actual size, of Norman capitals, sections of mouldings, ornamented pier, door, and window arches: and these, it is hoped, it may be easy for the natives to imitate in the stone of their own country, which is said to be well adapted for building.
One model of a parish-church will at present be sufficient; because the churches will be, at first, two hundred miles apart. Norman is the style adopted; because, as the work will be chiefly done by native artists, it seems natural to teach them first that style which first prevailed in our own country; while its rudeness and massiveness, and the grotesque character of its sculpture, will probably render it easier to be understood and appreciated by them. These churches will, like the Cathedral, be built slowly--divine service being carried on in consecrated ground, under temporary sheds erected within the rising church walls; and to every church there will be a distinct and spacious Chancel.
It is indeed matter of heartfelt delight to the Society, that it is enabled to be of service to so interesting a branch of the ONE Catholick and Apostolick Church, as that about to be established in New Zealand, where the population has not yet gained so much ground as to allow no other care to the church-builder, than how to erect most quickly the largest edifices. And they have the assurance that their plans will be carried into effect with the greatest possible fidelity and propriety, from the fact, that a member of their Committee will accompany the Prelate to the new see in the capacity of his Chaplain, and will continue in communication with the Society upon all subjects conneced with their architectural operations in the country.
We hope shortly to be able to lay before the members of our Society a view of the model parish-church, the general plan of which has already been agreed upon, and has been approved of by his Lordship; and they, we are sure, will in the mean time say, with respect to the temples about to be erected in so distant a land--"Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces!"