Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood
The Congregationalists have been established as a Church in Christchurch since 1864. In May 1862 about a dozen persons belonging to this denomination met for the first celebration in Christchurch of Divine service according to its form in the old Oddfellows' Hall, Lichfield-street. The building was then in an incomplete state, and contained neither chairs nor tables, and only two wooden forms. One of these forms served those early Congregationalists as a table, in the middle of which a candle stood up between two bricks was their only light. On the other form the congregation sat. In this primitive manner they first met. Gradually they established matters on a better basis, and in 1864, Mr. Habens having arrived from England to be their pastor, a church of 40 members was formed, which met for Divine service in what was known as Bonnington's Hall. In 1873-4 their present stone church at the corner of Manchester and Worcester-streets was built, the contract for the building only being £3173. Previous to this page 49they had used what is now their schoolhouse, next the church. A Sunday-school in connection with this church has been successfully carried on since 1864. A branch church has been established in Linwood, one of the Christchurch suburbs, and another has been formed at Timaru. The present Christchurch members and adherents number between 400 and 500, Linwood about 300, and Timaru 300. The ministers are:—Christchurch, the Rev. Seth Smith (temporarily); Linwood, the Rev. John Hoatson; and Timaru, the Rev. Mr. Sharp. The Linwood congregation are preparing to build a church on a site belonging to them in the Ferry-road, but at present they are working temporarily in the Oddfellows' Hall, East Belt.