St Matthews Digital
Stories from our past
03 July 2016
St Thomas' Church, Freemans Bay
Waiora Port tells the story of St Thomas’ Church before it was demolished in the 1970s
Dr Waiora Port
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St Thomas' Church, Freemans Bay
What do you have to be 20? Tahara kikki K here. Tacoma echo. Echo key-maker ho-hum to NOW New York.
The I'll Mark, you are clear to hippolyta. Hm. Hm. If you take the, we shoots out of the Hello, Kitty, Bush, the flex Porsche we will the Bell birds sing ask me. What is the most important thing in the world? And I will tell you, his people, his people because people, This fucker Toki goes with me wherever I go. It comes from my people in told pody in the far north and it is something I hold deep within my heart for people are indeed very important. My faith in God and the teachings of his son. Jesus Christ have from birth and throughout my long life, be nurtured and influenced by many many people.
Seriously by those who raised me and then by those who might have been fortunate to have met on my life's journey people are indeed important. We are celebrating the feast of Saint Thomas today. And of course, thinking about in particular, for me, some Thomas's and for others and Thomas's Church, Freeman's Bay which was pulled down in 1967 for a Motorway at the bottom of Cook Street.
I have studied notes, papers articles and newspaper clippings from the church archives and Parnell about some Thomas's. And for this talk, and of course, I have lived through many of those times, I wish to acknowledge papers of notes left by father Miller, David, Dunning him, and to marry her. But knee, Chisholm, and others.
I've also thought about the five other churches. I have had long associated with, and I realized that's, and Thomas's Freeman's Bay, definitely claims first place in my heart and some Thomas led me to sent Matthew in the city, we are have chosen to worship for the last 34 years. The intervening years were spent at Saint Thomas has Newland Where we met John Malone and his first curacy there, some Peters up a rakatan in Christchurch. And some Paul, by the Sea Milford, there's another little church but that is for another time.
My maternal grandparents were rationalists. They were Park ha and I love them. Dearly my maternal. Grandparents were baptized me naughty, which is the transliteration of the word missionary because the early missionaries in the north were Church of England.
However, many Maori became disenchanted with the way land. Was alienated from them due to the non ratification of the Treaty of waitangi.
And Maori prophets arose to counteract, what they saw. As Injustice has one, such man was widowed, Newports Akira Tada and he traveled extensively around out here. Role in the early 1900's and he went North and converted my grandparents.
There were many into hopwa and to call and I think Poirot where we lived and today they still maintain congregations, large congregations, and beautiful temples.
My grandfather died in 1928. When I was born in 1932 my grandfather, My Grandmother Had Me baptized as rustler.
My grandmother was a very important person and role model for me, especially as far as religion was concerned as my parents, although the best were not churchgoers. She was a quiet hard-working funny. And very loving person. She never Reached but it seemed one absorbed her spirituality, natural goodness and love through form of Osmosis my parents decided in 1942. Leave the small settlement of a HEPA to seek a better life for our family in Auckland soldiers. Leaving to go overseas to fight in World War Two. Meant that work was more readily available. After the long depression of the 30s. There are not many Maori living in Auckland.
Oakland at that time, but they seem to be concentrated in the slum areas of the inner city among Park.
How working-class people we rented, a very old dilapidated house with no electricity or bathroom in Cook Street. And my sister, and I had to walk throughs in Thomas's church grounds from Union Street to Napier Street to attend the school now, known as Freeman's baseball.
We often saw two men in long, black dresses. They were father Miller, the vicar of Saint Thomas and His cured. Father Dobson, the church also had a kindergarten Department downstairs in the hall, which is at the back, the school used the whore for events, and sometimes even classes.
Up on the hill on Hobson Street. Stood the this very big Stone Church called st. Matthew and I was in great, all of it, having come from a little settlement. This huge Stone building too. One-sided. However was an old wooden Church which I was more comfortable with. They used to hold jumble sales there and my mother found, these very useful in providing clothing. Not only for us.
I put many relatives in the north. We loved hearing the Bells on Sunday. My dad, who was not a churchgoer said before I get called up.
That meant conscripted to go to war. I'll enroll you it's an at st. Matthews, Sunday school. At the time, we were attending a Salvation Army group and a private house in Cook Street. A few days later and anglicans sister from the order of the Good Shepherd happened to visit our house and asked if we would go to the Sunday school and St, Thomas's in Freeman's Bay.
I will we give fervent. Thanks to my mother for her decision because Saint Thomas began in 1942 to become a very important part of my life eggs. 10 years then I look forward very much to attending Sunday school because our vicar father Miller was an excellent teacher and made the lessons. So exciting and interesting even being prepared for confirmation.
Interesting, and exciting.
We had a weekly Club in the hall on Friday after school, which was also taken by the vicar. It did not have a car and had to do all his visiting and this is on foot. Some of us were asked to join a junior choir which was taken by Doris Chisholm and David Dunning. Mm, they're great. Interest was music and both played the organ and they both created in us a love of good music.
And gave of their time. So generously, this is Doris Chism, lived at Cheltenham and used to catch a bus to the boat and then a tram to some Thomas's in Union Street, not just once, but twice on Sundays with Kya Pectus on another day, I remember how my life and faith owes much to the activities provided by the church, the teaching and example of the clergy and the parishioners of Remarkable and much loved Church. My life revolved around my family. My church, my school. And I remember being a very happy person in 1944, after father minute left and father, Caswell came from hokitika to be Joint City, mishnah, and Vicar of Saint Thomas has. He said his wife had he and his wife had previously been in the church Army. He sets strict rules for us.
We're not allowed to have or tend dances twenty-firsts or have weddings during Lent. If we were to make our communion on a Sunday morning, we were to be in bed by 12 o'clock the night before to me. He was firm caring. Hard-working intuitive man, with a good sense of humor.
On a lighter note on winter nights. Father Caswell used to drop me off on his way home from church after even song until he became aware. That a young man who was a server and chorister was wanting to walk me home.
He said to me, very quietly and with a twinkle in his eye, after even song that night and said, don't think I need to take you home tonight. Do I gas Port? Was that young man? Father, Caswell, saw, many of the elderly living in the inner city and deplorable, conditions and paying high rents. He wanted to do something about it and he was fortunate that father Miller who was on the executive committee of the City Mission.
The time was an interested and willing supporter rather casual approached mr. Carriage, a prominent Auckland businessman for assistance. He agreed and became father, cows world's greatest supporter. They had a film made called indictment about the plight of the elderly and carriage had its shown in all hits theaters to raise awareness. And also to collect donations plans had been drawn up by father castle for the buildings but while Carriage was overseas on business, he looked at other places for the elderly that were being built there in the state's when he got home. He told Caswell to forget about the old fashioned dormitory like buildings and build what they were doing overseas. A type of Village cottages.
Inside of someone Village was born. Father Caswell left Saint, Thomas has to become full-time. Mr. T mishnah. And we work on Father, John Fisher, who'd been in the Torres Strait to be a vicar and also Maori, mishnah, it was, because we could not financially support a full-time priest that we had to share with the City Mission. And now, the Maori Mission failed. Official, worked very hard together that Maori anglicans, It's in Thomas's I could not understand why Maori wanted to have their own service at 11:00 when they could come to ours at 9:15 with singing music and all the Pomp and ceremony we hate. I was 18. Truly a cement assimilated Braun pakka. I had no understanding of how important to they'll the language and tikanga. The Customs Were Meant to these.
Marie who are fortunate to have been retained those, although the policies of the government for Maori was assimilation, time was to come later. When I would come to fully understand and appreciate what father fishes, Ministry meant particularly to the Maori congregation.
The people I met there the teachings learned in those important years. Enriched my life and allied with my loving home, life equipped me with the skills to fight The Future spiritually. Physically. And mentally in December 1953 after completing my teacher training Garth and I were married at Saint Thomas has by father Fischer in a nuptial necklace. With Father, Caswell attendee Doris Chism with the organist.
And I'll many friends.
Assisting as servers and choristers. It was when my mother died in 1967 that I realized, when asked, is the eldest in my family to thank my far, no, at her tummy and that I couldn't speak Terrell.
It was like, I feel saw Paul on his way to tasks as being struck blind, I've and declared I would learn Maori. And one day, be able to stand on my mother, I and speak in Maori, with great support from Garth, I started to Learn Today. L and it was not easy because in 1967, the Maori Renaissance had not begun. And I found it very difficult to find a class.
And it took 18 long years by myself, almost to become fluent. I now fully understand why Mary had wanted to worship and meet and greet in their own language in our language. In fact, all cultures wish to worship and meet and greet in their own language, as a result of my new skills. And to jail, I was asked in 1982 by John Mulaney malvika, it's not Matthews to hell.
The congregation with the Mari responses in the new liturgy. John was also the first liquor. I remember, who instigated the Saint Thomas de más on the 21st of December each year, usually and this was greatly appreciated by the dwindling numbers of those of us who had worshipped and lived at Saint Thomas has Freeman's Bay. It is also celebrated on the fourth of July which I know is Walls father Miller's birthday. So Tamara happy birthday father. Milla, it was Saint Thomas. Has sent Matthews who first thought in 1875 that a branch. Sunday school was needed in Freeman's Bay which was part of their Parish, the incumbent as the reference. Hazard was known at that time, set in motion, the purchasing of land and then buildings, What was to become a Venturi? The church of Saint Thomas. It seems, we were born out of st. Matthews.
And now what is left of our spirit. And some of our Earthly. Treasures have found Haven incident Matthew in the city. Some of you may already know the story of the chapel, Father eliten was the priest who was there before I started. And I he was the man responsible for the chapel He salvaged the oak panels from the chapel which were on board. The Southern Cross 5 when it was scrapped and use them for what the walls of a lady Chapel in Saint Thomas has Union Street. Who was this man? Father Allison. I'd like to give you a little bit of his character.
The Reverend Father, Arthur Russell eliten arrived from England. In 1929, to be Vicar of Saint Thomas has and remain there until 1941 when he left to become, chaplain to the forces. He'd served in the British forces in World War 1 and the artist rifles. And was awarded a military cross because of his high Church views, controversy often followed in his wake. When seeking a faculty for the changes for the Uh, from the archdeacon's sunken, he was refused because of salaries owing to him and his curat, father, Peter vokes dungeon.
Which had not been paid after these were duly paid, a faculty was issued and work. Completed, father Ellison, then ask permission for the bishop of melanesia, who happened to be visiting to bless the lady chapel and because of the association of ship and Chapel, that's was granted. However, when the Archbishop read, The Herald next morning, his anger knew no bounds. Not only was the chapel bless which Miscible. But the reserved Sacrament and the Sacristy Bell had also been blessed and they had not had a faculty.
He wished the Archbishop wanted father eliten his curat deacons and Vestry dismissed immediately.
However, this could not be done because of ecclesiastical procedures and the appears no record of the matter except for a year father, Allison and Father, Peter votes dudgeon. His curat were not permitted to celebrate mass in any other church, and other priests were not permitted to celebrate mass in St. Thomas's, according to Father, Miller and I quote After some time, when all the fire had gone out and the smoke disappear, the Archbishop wrote and suggested a compromise.
Which would make it possible for him to restore the band's. This happened and father, Ellison it agreed. But it was the opinion of some of the time that he enjoyed being persecuted end of quote, although he left had left some Thomas's by the time I went there. I met him on several occasions when he returned to produce a Passion Play.
Which as a young teenager I had a small part. Father, Caswell invited him back to produce the morality play.
Every man in which Caswell paid every man. It seems of father eliten, had put this play on many times, and he had played the character of every man. This was performed in the church, but the Passion Play was performed in Nepal. He was indeed a charismatic person, and definitely a producer who He'd been and love the theater. He expected more than amateur performances from his caste who are mainly parishioners and dispersed with actor. Friends of his, in his time, Gabe's Sybil Thorndike and her husband. Louis? Cason were noted actors and when an Auckland, they used to attend, even song at some Thomas's and each would read listen.
To, in this section. I would like to quote words written by David Dunning and mentioned earlier. And I could, he opened our eyes to literature to the theater to music. I can truly still remember the magic of debus, he's Cathedral on Gusty, my apologies to the mispronunciation played by Tracy Moresby on The Battered old piano in the Parish Hall Trace.
Wouldn't have been there if they are Ray, had not the wit or the wisdom to appoint him as our choir Master. Yes. And to politics, he had a lively conscience. He arranged for a number of Trades. People treat you some Thomas's Hall every Monday night. Poor people could buy clothing and food cheaply. He had a social conscience and it was reported in newspapers and acquired the reputation of being a left.
Left Winger theologically, he was not about biblical scholar, the church came first. The Bible followed, oh, the New Testament, the church was Central to his life of faith. We all loved and esteemed him. He enriched our lives. In measuredly end of quote.
There are very few of us who worship and Matthew incident Thomas's and I give thanks for the chapel in which I often sit and pray. And remember, I have enjoyed throughout my life, being part of in serving my family by birth, my family, the church we ever have chosen to be and my life and work guided always with my faith in God and the teachings of his son. Jesus Christ, called Ada who nobody could already occurred to do marijuana moment. I don't know.