THE Invercargill Methodist Worship and Community Centre is turning 20.
To celebrate, people are being invited to a celebration dinner on Saturday, November 18, a special Sunday service with guest preacher Reverend Prince Devanandan (New Zealand Methodist Conference president) on Sunday, November 19, at 10am, and a service of remembrance for those who had been a part of the church, but who had died, on Sunday, October 29, at 10am.
Church member Carla Werder, who was also on the anniversary celebrations organising committee, said anyone who had a connection with the centre was welcome to attend the celebrations, but said because of limited numbers for the dinner and entertainment on the Saturday night, it was important to register as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
The cut-off day to register for the dinner was Sunday, November 12, she said.
Under the umbrella of the Invercargill Parish of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, the multifunction centre on the corner of Lindisfarne and Miller Sts, was built after members of the parish decided to combine the three former Methodist churches throughout Invercargill.
Church member Eddie Bremer said this was partly because of declining congregation numbers, but mainly because of the cost of building maintenance. It was decided by the congregation members that Central Methodist, formerly on the corner of Jed and Yarrow Sts, St Peter’s, Elles Rd, and St Mark’s, Burke St, would combine and the centre on Lindisfarne St would be built.
As mementoes and to remind people of the history of the parish, the bell from St Peter’s, a stone fresco from St Mark’s and a stained glass window from Central Methodist were incorporated into the new centre, which was opened on November 29, 1997, and dedicated for worship on November 30.
Because of the various-sized rooms throughout the complex, which included the main auditorium, lounge, multipurpose room and kitchen, the centre had proved popular throughout the past two decades, from hosting a national quilting exhibition to various community activities.
Mr Bremer said “it was not just a church”, but also a community centre where choirs, bowls, Girl Guides, an after-school Friday club, and storytelling, various government departments met and regular community meetings were held, as well as the usual church-related events such as worship, celebrations, outreach activities, christenings, baptisms, weddings and funerals.
“Lots of groups have their regular meetings here,” Mr Bremer said.
As well as the traditional Sunday morning church service, the centre also hosted two other Sunday services, including a Fijian service and a Tongan service, on various Sunday afternoons.