Remembering the churches of Christchurch

Much to the dismay of my devout Italian grandmother, I have long given up going to church.

However, I still love places of worship. For me, they are imbued with memories:  memories of happy times and sad times, beginnings and farewells.

And, whenever I enter a church, a temple or a mosque, I cannot help but feel that there is something special in the air, a certain sacredness that transcends the religious – as if the building itself retains a lingering awareness of the many prayers and hopes of those who have visited it.

So I have been really saddened by the fact that many of the churches in Christchurch have not fared well in the earthquakes.

Most of us are aware of the severe damage suffered by the iconic  Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals, but these unfortunately have not been the only casualties. My quick roll-call includes:

  • St Luke’s in  the City, on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore Streets;
  • Holy Trinity in Avonside;
  • Knox Church, on the corner of Victoria Street and Bealey Avenue;
  • the Sydenham Church, in Colombo Street;
  • St Mary and St Athanasious Coptic Church in Edgeware Road; and
  • the Union Parish Church and Holy Trinity Church in Lyttelton.

Holy Trinity Church, Avonside, in 1905Luckily the memory of many of these buildings lives on in the library:

And, even more luckily, many gems have survived, though admittedly some a tad battered.

My personal favourites are St Peter’s at Church Corner in Riccarton – a little island of peace surrounded by busy streets – and St Paul’s in Papanui, which was designed by B. W. Mountfort, and whose cemetery is home to a number of illustrious Cantabrians, including Robert Heaton Rhodes and Charles Upham, V.C.

Do you have a favourite church, or any other places of worship to add to my sad roll-call of earthquake casualties?

For the love of dogs!

I was walking to work today when I was approached by a very friendlydog without a collar. She happily trotted along beside me before crossing Linwood Avenue without a care for oncoming traffic. Shocked I quickly wrapped my polar fleece around her to act as a makeshift collar. At this point my faith in humanity was restored as two cars pulled over to see if they could help! One lovely lady by the name of Kate (thank you if you read this!) dropped me at Linwood Service Centre where I could ring Dog Control.

Luckily for this dog, her owners had thought to have her micro chipped and it was with some relief  that Kerry the kind dog control officer could get her quickly home. There are three things I like to remember here:

  1. Micro chipping is a cheap way to keep a track on your loved ones (pets that is);
  2. When it counts the vast majority of people are very helpful;
  3. People are not the only ones to get scared during aftershocks.

Christchurch City Libraries  has a huge array of information about animals including dogs who wish to be loved and love. Give a pat to a friendly dog today for a rush of joy!