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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Terrace Congregational Church

The Terrace Congregational Church is situate at the corner of Bowen Street and Wellington Terrace, right opposite Government House gates, and within a very short distance of the Parliamentary and Government Buldings. In 1842 the late Mr. Jonas Woodward commenced to hold religious services in Wellington, in a small building in Charlotte Street known as the Mechanics' Institute. This was the commencement of the Congregational Church, in the interests of which this gentleman laboured, though himself actively engaged in business. Before 1848 a small brick structure had been erected in Murphy Street, but the earthquakes of that year made the building dangerous. A second church was therefore put up, this time in Woodward Street, it being opened in the month of May, 1849. About sixteen or eighteen years later a much larger church was built on the same site, and in 1887 a portion of the congregation was transferred to the new church in Courtenay Place. The splendid church on the Terrace, which appears in the engraving kindly presented by Mrs. W. R. Williams, was opened on Friday, the 26th of May, 1888, by the late Rev. Dr. West, assisted by the Revs. W. J. Habens, J. K. Elliott, E. D. Cecil, and J. Dumbell. The total cost of land, buildings, and furnishings was over £6000, including organ, and within little more than a year after the opening ceremony the congregation united to give thanks because the church was declared free of debt. The New Zealand Graphic of the 3rd of March, 1894, gives the following interesting particulars:—“The architect was Mr. B. W. Mountford, of Christchurch. Its design is Gothic in character, although decidedly original in style, the result being very pleasing. The church fronts on to Wellington Terrace, and is built entirely of wood, having a high-pitched roof, finished with an apse at one end and a turret at the other. The main entrance is a large, open porch, off which, on either side, are lobbies leading to the cloak-rooms and into the church. The dimensions of the building are as follows: Length of nave 64 feet, width of nave 25 feet, total width of church 55 feet, total length of church 80 feet, height of nave 36 feet, height of turret 77 feet. The schoolroom and vestries are situated immediately at the rear of the church, the street entrance to both being from Bowen Street. The size of the vestries (combined) is 34 feet by 16 feet. The minister's platform is situated at the further end as one enters the church, the splendid new organ occupying a central position thereon, doors to both right and left leading to lobbies giving access to the deacons' and pastors' vestries, and also to the street. On each side of the nave are three transepts, in the gables of which are placed the main windows, all of which are filled with ‘leaded lights' of tinted ‘cathedral’ glass. The dado is formed of alternate red pine and kauri boards, above the dado the walls being plastered and distempered tin colours, which contrast well with the rich red of the rimu, of which the window frames and roof are constructed. For artificial lighting the building is well provided with gas brackets and pendants of a very neat kind. The school- page 404 room communicates with both vestries, and is entered by a porch from Bowen Street. It is a lofty building 50 feet by 25 feet, lit at each end by large windows, similar in character to those in the church.” The first pastor in Wellington was the Rev. W. H. Scott, who was after four years succeeded by the Rev. W. M. Fell, who continued some seven years. The late Rev. (after Dr.) W. H. West, ministered for many years, and had the pleasure of seeing the present beautiful church erected. The pastors since the lamented Dr. West have been the Rev. Mr. Milne, M.A., the Rev. G. J. Allen, B.A., and the Rev. J. R. Glasson, the present minister.

Engraving presented by Mrs. W. R. Williams. Terrace Congregational Church.

Engraving presented by Mrs. W. R. Williams.
Terrace Congregational Church.