Project Canterbury

Church Building at the Antipodes

From Mission Life, Vol. IV (1873), page 144.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2006


[In Mission Life for February, 1872, a letter was inserted in which the Rev. W. A. Pascoe gave his first impressions of his new parish, over which he, a young deacon, had been placed by the Bishop of Christchurch, the first clergyman ever stationed in a parish some forty miles square in extent. He then regretted that he had no church, and was compelled to use the Government School-house, and that being a deacon, and no priest within thirty miles, he was, in common with his flock, debarred from Holy Communion. We rejoice to find that he is now in Priest's Orders, and that his people have undertaken the erection both of church and parsonage, the church coming, as it ought, first.--Editor M.L.]

"Ashburton, August 22, 1872.

"MY DEAR -------, --You will see by the above where I am. I left Waimate on Sunday, after Morning Service, rode to Timaru, twenty-eight miles, in time for Evensong, and preached for Mr. Foster. I started at 6 A.M. the next morning by the coach. I had as fellow-travellers 'the illustrious stranger' and his wife, that is to say, Anthony Trollope, who is making a tour through the Australasian colonies. I suppose great novelists are not seen to advantage at 6 o'clock of a winter's morning, especially when they happen to be on a jolting, uncomfortable coach, but he improved with each pipe as the day grew warmer, and was a delightful travelling companion. If in any future book you find a sketch of a colonial parson in leather breeches and gaiters, and wearing a paper collar turned upside-down, you will know who it is.

"I return to Waimate next Saturday. The foundation of the church is to be laid next Wednesday, the 28th. It is, as I think I have already told you, to be dedicated to St. Augustine of Canterbury; by a curious coincidence, the 28th is St. Augustine of Hippo. The Bishop cannot come down, so the ceremony will be performed by Mr. Foster, the incumbent of Timaru.

"August 29th.--We laid the foundation of the church yesterday, and fortunately had fine weather. We could not have a Morning Service and Celebration, as I should have liked, because of the difficulty of getting the school-house, so we had Evensong to the end of the third collect, with proper psalms and lessons, then hymn 164 A. and M., then a sermon, and then we formed in procession and went to the site singing, 'Onward Christian Soldiers,' the first processional ever sung in Southern Canterbury.

"Some of our correct friends in England would have been horrified, for we had no surpliced choir, but dresses of all sorts, the whole headed by a police-sergeant singing with a will, but it was very hearty and was appreciated, and may lead the way to better things. I compiled a Service from one sent me by the Bishop, and from the Priests Prayer-book, and after the Service we sang hymn 306. There was a great crowd of people of all sects present. To-day is very wet and dirty, so that we were very fortunate."

Project Canterbury