Eleanor Horne’s love of the Word began in 1935 when, at just four years old, her refusal to attend Sunday School meant she had to attend church instead.

So, she went to Matins every Sunday at St Barnabas and soon loved every minute of it, developing a deep appreciation for the language in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). By the age of seven, she knew the Te Deum and the Benedictus by heart.

As a teenager, Eleanor attended Youth Group and taught Sunday School as well as delivering the church magazine. Back then, each deliverer had a list of people and were required to visit and hand deliver the magazine to each person on their list.

She studied at Rangi Ruru Girls’ Highschool and developed a love of languages there- studying French, Latin and German. The structure of languages was particularly interesting to her.

Perhaps then, this is what drew her to study classical Hebrew in the 1990s. In Hebrew, most prepositions are in prefixes, verbs often precede their subjects, and many words have multiple meanings. Eleanor has loved dallying with translation of the Old Testament ever since and has translated parts of Genesis, Exodus, Kings and Samuel – and the whole of Ruth which has feminine versions of verbs.

After high school, Eleanor trained as a secretary and worked for a Christchurch solicitor before travelling with her sister to England for their big OE in 1951. While onboard the ship to England, the news came through that King George VI had died and she remembers the all-consuming shock and emotions.

Once in London, Eleanor quickly obtained work as a secretary. Eleanor chuckles remembering their very tiny flat. There was a cooking ring on the fireside hearth – that was it. The girls had planned to return home in 1952, but decided to postpone so they could join in the festivities celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. On her return to NZ, Eleanor worked at the North Canterbury Hospital Board where she met David, her future husband. Following her marriage, Eleanor worshipped at St Peter’s where David was a sideman at the Cathedral. It was then during Bob Lowe’s time that Eleanor found herself back at St Barnabas where she served on the Hospitality Committee and was rostered to read the lessons at Communion until February 2022. She also served on the Worship Committee, representing the 8am Sunday and 10am Thursday congregations.

Eleanor has always preferred BCP services and is thankful that they are still offered at St Barnabas, although she acknowledges that most people now prefer more modern liturgies, and she has found St Barnabas’ special services for Good Friday, Anzac Day and Remembrance Sunday inspirational.

Outside of St Barnabas, Eleanor has made her mark on the wider community. She taught Bible in Schools at Ilam School from 1964-78 and was on the board of the YWCA from 1978-90. She was quiz master at St Allisa’s for 20 years, at Holly Lea for 11 years and raised funds for St Barnabas by running quizzes after the earthquakes. She is a Life member of St Albans Cricket Club, including serving as their club secretary for 13 years and doing the catering for 20 years. 

By Roberta Smith