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Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood



The first settlers on the plains, the Deans, were Presbyterians, and among those who came here in the first four ships, and who came from other parts of the Colony, were many who belonged to this church. These early commenced to take steps towards the erection of a place in which to hold Divine Service, and formed a Building Committee, with the result that St. Andrew's Free Church of Scotland was opened in February, 1857, with the Rev. Charles Fraser as minister. But even before this Mr. Fraser had, by the kindness of the Wesleyans, had the use of their church for one service for his people each Sunday for some considerable time.

All through the settlement the number of Presbyterians increased, and gradually churches were erected in the various townships, with a minister appointed to each. The Canterbury Presbytery was formed in January, 1864, the Rev. W. Kirton being elected Moderator at the first meeting, which was held in St. Andrew's Church. As the settlement grew, and Timaru and Westland separated from Canterbury, and were formed into counties, a presbytery was formed for each county. In and about Christchurch the Presbyterians are strong, and have, besides St. Andrew's Church (near the Hospital), St. Paul's, in Cashel-street, a church on the North Belt, and others at Sydenham, the Ferry-road, and Papanui. There are also in the Christchurch Presbytery churches at Lyttelton, Kaiapoi, Cust, Sefton, Rangiora, Waiau, Halkett, Prebbleton, Leeston, Southbridge, Ashburton, Malvern, Alford Forest, and Akaroa.

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In the presbytery of Timaru they have six churches, and in that of Westland five churches, In these three presbyteries they raise annually for missions, £700; for Sabbath-schools, £400; for congregational purposes, £8100; and for liquidating their debt, £3200. The number of communicants is 2180, of adherents, 3050, of Sabbath-schools, 43, of teachers, 390, of scholars, 3880, and of manses, 20.