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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Church Building Mooted

Church Building Mooted.

On August 30, 1872, a public meeting was held to consider the question of erecting a church for the Church of England. The meeting did not, however, organise for business, as there were only seven persons in attendance—Archdeacon Williams and Messrs. King, Webb, Steel, H. J. Reid and Lysnar. We next learn that Mr. Lysnar, on the following Saturday, crossed the river (to Kaiti) to borrow some sermon books from Archdeacon Williams. September 1st was a notable date for on that day the Archdeacon administered Holy Communion to ten communicants. The first choir practice was held on the Tuesday under the charge of Mr. Skipworth. During the remainder of the month Mr Lysnar held the church services. On October 3 Archdeacon Williams convened another public meeting to ascertain ways and means of building a church. A committee was appointed—the Archdeacon, Mr. Hardy and Mr. Lysnar. Mr. Taylor expressed his dissatisfaction. There were six communicants at the service on October 6, which was conducted by the Archdeacon. During that month, Mr. Lysnar continued to hold the services. Flora Wyllie and Mary King, it is recorded, then began to learn the harmonium.

During November, 1872, Archdeacon Williams held some of the earlier services. There was some disagreement in the choir and Mr. Skipworth resigned as player of the harmonium. On the 17th Mr. Lysnar held the service; there was no choir but Miss Nesbitt played. The following Sunday there was not even music and Mr. Lysnar led the singing himself. On the 27th Bishop Williams and Archdeacon Williams came in the Luna to make an effort to locate a clergyman in the district. The Bishop held the next service and the diary says: “Mr. and Mrs. Tolemache, Col. Singin, Capt. Read and other unusual attendants were present.' Just before Christmas Mr. Robt. Read died and Mir. Lysnar conducted the funeral service at a place across the Big River.

On January 19, 1873, Mr. Lysnar held the first service to be conducted at Matawhero. The following Sunday he baptised Louisa and Charlotte Goldsmith, children of Frederick and Heni Goldsmith, in the schoolhouse. Regretfully he adds that the sponsors, Oliver Goldsmith and Rowley Hill, were absent. Services at Gisborne and Matawhero were continued. February 20 was the day of Mr. Johnston's funeral and Mr. Lysnar read the service. On March 2 it is recorded that the Rev. Mr. Root, a Presbyterian minister, held his first service in the school-house. Bishop Williams and Archdeacon Williams also preached during that month. On May 25, Archdeacon Williams prepared to administer Holy Communion, but there were no communicants present, and the celebration was postponed. March 20 was the date of a meeting in the Court-house to arrange about building a church. The services were now again being held at the Court-house.

In 1874 Archdeacon Williams held numerous church services in the early months. On March 21 Mrs. Langford's infant died and Mr. Lysnar held the funeral service. Most of the April services were held by Mr. Root. On April 26, however, the Wesleyans held their first service in Gisborne. Mr. Root conducted special services on June 21 for the benefit of a Sunday school. July 10 was a notable day in that the Rev. J. Murphy arrived to assume the duties of minister, and he preached his first sermon here on July 12. In August an Anglican service was held in the Court-house in the mornings and a Presbyterian service in the evenings. On August 19 a musical and reading entertainment was held in the Music Hall for the benefit of the English church. Owing to no Bishop's church-warden being present to page 58 sign the notices for a parish meeting in October they were declared invalid. The opening service of the Presbyterian Church (St. Andrew's) took place on October 25 when the Rev. Mr. Bruce, of Auckland, preached and the Rer. Mr. Root and the Rev. Mr. Sidey (of Napier) assisted. Mr Root on October 29 at the school gave notice of the start of a Presbyterian Sunday school. Next day the Rev. Mr Murphy informed the scholars that the Church of England Sunday School would start on the following Sunday at the Court-house.

The Church of England Sunday school duly commenced on Nov. 1. There were 31 scholars and three teachers. On Nov. 9 a meeting of parishioners was held. Mr. Lysnar was appointed a church-warden and Messrs. Turner, Dufaur, Crawford, Parsons and Kempthorne vestrymen, with Messrs. Strong and G. Harris auditors. Robt. Skeet's funeral took place on November 15. The first vestry meeting followed on Nov. 16 when the business discussed was the election of Parish nominators, appointment of minister, stipend, books and seats. On account of the Rev. Mr. Murphy being unwell on December 6 Mr. W. W. Wilson read the prayers and lessons and Mr. Lysnar read a sermon: “The Rich Fool.” Messrs. Wilson, Crawford and Lysnar were appointed Parish nominators. The minister's stipend was fixed at £250 per annum and the vestry deputed Mr. Lysnar to confer with Mr. Root concerning the offertory, lights on Thursday evenings and the harmonium.

In the first week of 1875 a meeting of the Vestry had to be held to discuss the question of the arrears of stipend due to Mr. Murphy and the ladies were requested to form a committee to aid. On February 2 Mr. Murphy was allowed house rent of £50 per annum. He resigned, however, on February 6, deciding to return to Ireland. His resignation was accepted with regret on February 10, but Mr. Lysnar's resignation as church-warden was declined. Mr. Murphy went away on February 19. The following Sunday, Mr. Wilson read the service and Mr. Woon the sermon. Mrs. Wilson was buried on February 28 by the Rev. Mr. Root, who read the Church of England burial service. In March Messrs. Woon and Wilson continued the services. On March 24 a Vestry meeting was held to make preparations for the opening of the new church, which was built by Mr. Morgan for £880. The sittings were let on April 3. On April 11 the consecration of the church of the Holy Trinity was performed by Bishop Williams, assisted by Archdeacon Williams and the offertory amounted to £14 3s 4d. On May 2 Father Regnier held a service in the school. The Rev. E. Williams (of Naseby, Otago) arrived on May 20 and preached for the first time in Holy Trinity on the 23rd.

[As Mr. Lysnar left Poverty Bay on June 28 the diary ends so far aschurch affairs in this district are concerned.]

Archdeacon Hy. Williams of the Bay of Islands.

Archdeacon Hy. Williams
of the Bay of Islands.