You’ll find us at 168 Stanmore Road, Linwood, Christchurch (click here for a map) near the intersection with Avonside Drive.
We have recently moved into our lovely new Church building which has a very pleasant worship space, looking out onto the gardens.
Many of our community activities are held in St Francis Hall ( which is also available for rental).
Our Parish Vision is to:
- Deepen and strengthen our faith and understanding through prayer, worship and study
- Become a vibrant worship community, confident in what we do and able to reach out to others
- Build up the life of the parish
- Communicate and connect with our community
- Be good stewards of our fabric, site and money
- Work towards having sustainable buildings that will meet the needs of the faith community and enable outreach to the wider Avonside community.
After ten years of waiting, a new church is to be built at Avonside. The site was blessed at 9am on August the 10th 2020. Now, October 2021, the building is almost finished and we expect to be using it well before the end of the year. The new church is being built on the site of the original church.
It is hard to believe that the original Anglican parish of Avonside fixed in 1859, once covered the whole of the north- east Christchurch as far as the Styx River and included within its boundaries what were to become the parishes of Aranui, Burwood, Parklands, New Brighton, North New Brighton and part of Phillipstown. Some of these parishes have since amalgamated to become East Christchurch.
So, this parish started as a largely rural one situated in the middle of swampy ground which was somewhat treacherous to travel over in wintry wet conditions. Now the parish covers a great deal smaller area and the church centre is situated in an inner- city area of Christchurch. In 1857 the first church was consecrated here on the present site; it was the first Anglican church in Canterbury to be consecrated by Bishop Harper. However, services were held here in this area from 1855.
Through the generosity of parishioners and friends, the original cob church gave way to the historic stone church which was constructed in stages between 1874 and 1954. The foundation of the stone structure was laid in 1874. The architect Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort was an active member of the parish and had been responsible for the additions and alterations to the original building as well as designing the brick vicarage, sited where Harper Gardens stands today. By 1876, a new chancel, organ chamber and transepts replaced the original ones using basalt from Halswell Quarry, limestone for dressings, red and black glazed tiles, and slate for the roof.
The nave was completed to a modified design by the architect’s son, Cyril, in 1907, but the tower was never built. The principal architectural interest in the church lay in the chancel which it was argued, was the finest High Victorian chancel to be found anywhere in New Zealand. The church was given a category one listing by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. As well as being an historic building dating back to early Christchurch settlement, the church continued to be a place where a lively Christian community of all ages met regularly for worship and other activities.
Sadly, both the historic church and the hall were lost in the recent earthquakes. However, this community banded together and has continued as a strong community of faith. Some major changes were made to St Francis Hall in 2014 which created more space for worship and the wide range of other activities which happen here week by week.
Our new Church Building was completed in December 2021. Avonside is in good heart and we look forward to the future with anticipation of what God is calling us to do in this community of Avonside.
Reverend Jill Keir
People’s Warden / Synod Representative
Our other Vestry members are Gay McLean, , Christine Haythornthwaite, Raewyn Dawson, Tony Humphreys, Christine Macey, Jan Waldron, Rex Searle, Heather Murchison and Ian Wood (Synod Representative).
Our parish administrator Colleen Shankland attends as the minute secretary for Vestry.
Vestry is a the governance board for the parish. The key lay leaders of the parish are the People’s Warden (elected by parishioners) and the Vicar’s Warden (appointed by the vicar),who with two Synod representatives (elected), and a number of elected vestry members form the vestry/.
Any parishioner may attend a vestry meeting. Vestry meetings have generally been held once per month, usually on the second Thursday of the month, start time at 7.15pm. Vestry has number of subcommittees which attend in more detail to the business and mission of the parish.
If you would like any issue raised at vestry, please contact one of the wardens or any member