Christ Church has served the district faithfully for over 130 years.
The church is one of the oldest buildings in Ellerslie and has been acknowledged by the Maungakiekie Community Board as a heritage building. It is regularly included in the local Heritage Walk. Built in Kauri and originally with a shingle roof and windows of opaque glass the church cost 600 pounds. The church land had been purchased for 50 pounds from Robert Graham an early Auckland landowner and civic personage.
Christ Church was dedicated by Bishop Cowie on 22 December 1883 with 110 people present.
Christ Church – 1928
Photo courtesy of the Sir George Grey Special Collection, Auckland City Libraries: Ref 4-4121.
The church is renowned for its priceless stained glass windows which were made by the firm of Clayton and Bell, glassmakers to Queen Victoria. Clayton and Bell also provided windows for the chapel at Windsor Castle, King’s College Cambridge, Durham Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The windows were made in England and shipped out in 1884 for installation complete with a list of the subjects giving the order in which they were to be placed. The work was completed by 17 January 1885.
The windows were a gift from Alfred Bell to Albin Martin a member of the congregation who was a well known New Zealand landscape artist. Albin Martin had set Alfred Bell on his career as a glass painter while in England. When Alfred Bell heard of Albin Martin’s involvement with the new church he wrote to him asking for the measurements of all the windows so that he could make a complete set. He sought to create “a certain rhythm and unity throughout”. This he achieved by having each of the eighteen windows depict a different part of the Gospel.
The church suffered a very serious fire in 1929 but despite the heat the windows were not damaged.
In 1990 the church had a major rebuild when the Parish Lounge was added and the interior of the church was reversed with the altar being moved to the opposite end. In 2006 there was a further refurbishment of the church. The bell tower was repaired and strengthened with new finials added, the window frames and facings strengthened to ensure that the windows are firmly in place, sundry repairs carried out and the church repainted.
In November 2008 the church celebrated its 125th year marking this milestone in its history by a special service of consecration –an event which despite the church’s length of years had not previously taken place.