This month’s Van outing took us to St Marks Church, Opawa, to see their newly renovated church and the new St Anne’s Chapel.

Anna Wilson, the people’s warden, showed us around and talked about the repairs and the new chapel. The St. Anne’s Chapel which is an extension to the side is a beautifully designed space.  It has such a warm and inviting feel, and the focal point is the beautiful and distinctive stained glass cross which they bought over from the original St. Anne’s church in St Martins. The stained glass cross, designed by Rena Jarosewitsch in 1992, is a stunning piece of work, and is reflected back through one of the glass windows between the chapel and church. 

St. Mark’s church now boasts comfortable seats and comfortable carpet which was designed for them as a reflection of their stained glass east window. Their hall spaces have also been upgraded and are light and comfortable. 

The original St Mark’s wooden building burnt down and was replaced by the stone building in the early 1950’s. Because of that, the builders didn’t have to replace the slate roof with real slate; they were able to replace the slate with a recycled rubber version. They look exactly the same as you can see from the photo below and are considerably lighter. They also have cleverly insulated between the tiles and the wooden ceilings to help keep it warm.

The church has received an award from the Christchurch Civic Trust recognizing their initiative in the restoration and refurbishment of the church.

Waveney Baker told us she was a flower girl at St Mark’s 75 years ago and Jeff & Jo Cotton were married there nearly 30 years ago. Jeff’s parents were married in the original wooden church only a few weeks before it burnt down. The church holds a weekly service for the whole of St Mark’s School and has strong ties with the school. Reverend Canon Ben Truman is not only vicar of St Mark’s but also Chaplain of St Mark’s Primary School.

After the tour we headed off for an enjoyable afternoon tea at Fava Café in St Martins, located across the road from the site of the former St. Anne’s Church which is now an Early Learning Centre.

The next Van outing will be to Straight 8 Estate for a wine tasting on 9th Nov. If you are interested in coming, please book at the parish office. $5 per person.

By Jo Cotton