The closure of St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Hampden has marked the end of 134 years of service to the local community.
The church closed last Saturday, with the Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, the Rt. Rev. Kelvin Wright, taking the service of thanksgiving and reading the Deed of Secularisation.
He was joined by Archdeacon Jan Clark, Archdeacon Bernard Wilkinson, Rev. Phillip Charles and Rev. Juan Kinnear.
Thirty-two people who had a close association with the church also attended the Eucharist service, including church goers from Dunedin, Waikouaiti, Palmerston, Moeraki, Hampden, Maheno, Oamaru and Waimate.
The church was consecrated by Bishop Neville on December 20, 1881.
Among the clergy who have served parishioners at St Stephen’s Church has been Archdeacon Bernard Wilkinson, of Oamaru, who took on a caretaker ministry in 1980 and served, as needed, until 2012.
Saturday’s service also included prayers of thanks for the spiritual and pastoral support the St Stephen’s vicars have given the Hampden church community and the many social and community events held in the township.