- St Mary's Church
- St Mary's Road
- New Zealand
06 857 5259
16 August 2020
I am starting with the church bell as St Mary’s had a bell before they had a church building. The original bell was given to the Rev JC Eccles, who arrived in Waipukurau in 1874. At that time, Henry Russell would not agree to a church being built and that worship could be conducted in the public schoolroom. However, the Rev Eccles used a little subterfuge and travelled to Te Aute where he received the bell from the Rev Samuel Williams. The bell was hung from 2 telegraph poles in the moonlight! And the next morning, being Sunday, the first church bell to be heard in Waipukurau was rung for 30 minutes with great vigour. Russell then relented and “gave” the site for the church, although Diocesan records show that a purchase price of 100 pounds was actually paid! The present bell was given in memory of John Winlove who died in 1930. This is a tribute to the long association which the Winlove family have had with St Mary’s (Mr George Winlove having built the first church at a cost of 806 pounds) .
The font was given by the Hooper Family of Arlington Station, The Hooper family died out, with the last member being Miss Ida Hooper. Ida’s 2 first cousins, John & Richard Mackie, married and both left families who ran Arlington until recent times.
The font has a very special place in both families’ hearts, with several local members being christened in it over the years. In fact, one of our last christenings in St Mary’s was a grandson of Tim & Daph Mackie and a great grandson of Richard Mackie.
WINDOW ABOVE THE FONT, THE LECTURN, THE CROSS & PROCESSIONAL CROSS
The window at the back of the church was installed in the original church building, as was the brass lecturn and the altar communion rail. The cross on the altar, however, has been the subject of dissension at intervals over the years, its high church origins being a cause for disapproval among some parishioners. A letter written in 1886 by Mr H.H. Bridge to the church warden, Mr Brooke-Taylor, said:
“I enclose a cheque for 25 pounds towards the stipend fund. I am sorry to hear the cross has been put in the church. It will offend many in the congregation and is certainly not likely to help people to heaven. Why this tendency nowadays for the Church of England to imitate the Roman Catholics – it will cause many of her number if it goes much further, to return to the dissenters.”
The processional cross has had rather a chequered history. The original cross was brass on a wooden staff but unfortunately some years ago the brass cross was stolen along with some other items from the church. Fortunately for us all, Mr Phillip Jensen, who was a very gifted craftsman, made the present wooden cross to replace the original brass one and also, over ensuing years, he repaired the wooden staff when it was damaged through a few mishaps from time to time.(Personally, I still think of that cross as “Phillip’s cross”.)