Hutt City Library Online Database
Main Title: St. Philip”s Anglican Church
Notes: Indexes: E5
Summary: Stokes Valley, May 1977. First vicar 1964.
Subject: Churches — Epuni, Naenae, Taita, Stokes Valley
THE EARLY YEARS OF ST, PHILIP’S ANGLICAN CHURCH IN STOKES VALLEY
Typed by Angus Jones
On the 13th December 1958, Bishop E.J. Rich, Bishop Assistant to the Primate, dedicated the Stokes Valley Anglican Church with the following words:
“In the faith of Jesus Christ we dedicate this Church under the name of St, Philip’s Anglican Church”
On the 10th and 11th of December 1983, the parishioners of St, Philip’s celebrated the sliver Jubilee of that service. However, the history of the early Anglican Church activities in Stokes Valley was associated with Christ Church, Taita, which held its first service on the 1st of January 1854.
Many of the early Stokes Valley settlers attended services in the old Taita Church, and a walk through the graveyard will bring to mind the names of some of the earliest of the families to settle in Stokes Valley.
This Valley was until 1950, a part of the Parish of St, James, Lower Hutt. Unfortunately, the disastrous fire, which destroyed the records, held there, including early records of the Church of England in Stokes Valley.
The earliest information we have of local Anglican Services goes back to the early 1930 is when the Reverend (later Archdeacon) A.L. Hansell of St James on occasion celebrated Holy Communion at the residence of Mr and Mrs P. Cording on the corner of Stokes Valley Road and Raukawa Street. From 1933, the Reverend (later Canon) H.E.K. Fry conducted these services. In 1950, Taita and Stokes Valley were formed into a Parochial District separate from Lower Hutt and the Reverend W.R. Cunliffe was inducted as Vicar. A Stokes Valley Committee was formed at a meeting in the Koraunui Hall, the members of this first committee being,
Later that year, because the old Taita Church was not being used for services, a request was made to the Diocese for approval to move the building to Stokes Valley. The Diocese called a public meeting on the 7th December 1950 to get the people’s reaction. And what a reaction, there was. People came from all over New Zealand to the meeting and strong opposition was voiced to the proposal to move the building.
One outspoken gentleman who claimed that his grandfather had helped build the old church, said among other things:
‘If the people of Stokes Valley want a Church, let them take off their shirts like my grandfather did, and build there own church’
At the 1951 Annual Meeting of the Stokes Valley Parishioners held in the Anglican Boys Home Hall in Upper Stokes Valley Road, seven people attended, and when it came to the election of a committee, the vicar suggested that all those present comprises the committee. The Committee was the following people. Ian Corbett.
And it was that Committee which accepted the challenge to build the Anglican Church in Stokes Valley.
The Church Site:
In 1949, Mr Bogle had commenced subdividing, co-operating with Mr. A. Holloway, owner and occupier of the adjoining property on the South side of Mr Bogle’s.
This joint subdivision resulted in the formation of Rawhiti Street on the boundary of the two properties. In 1950, the Anglican Church purchased three sections from Mr Bogle. The section on the corner of Stokes Valley Road and Rawhiti Street, which was owned by Mr. R.G. Pepper, and the next two sections to the north were acquired by the Church, as was the Rawhiti Street section on which the Church Hall now stands. Later, one of the Stokes Valley Road sections was sold and is now the site of the Hautonga Lodge Hall.
In September 1952 the corner section was purchased from Mr Pepper and this, with the adjoining section, formed the site for the Stokes Valley Anglican Church building prior to these acquisitions a property on the hill on the other side of Stokes Valley Road had been subdivided by the owner, Edward Earle, and he had gifted a section to the Anglican Church and it was considered that this would provide a suitable site for the Vicarage.
These properties were vested in the Christ Church Taita Anglican Trust Board, which was incorporated on the 16th June 1950. Later the name was changed to the Taita-Stokes Valley Anglican Trust Board and following the separation of the two districts, the local properties were transferred to the Stokes Valley Anglican Trust Board.
In 1951, negotiations with Mr Bear, Secretary of the Anglican Boys Homes Trust Board, resulted in the use of the Boys Home Hall in Upper Stokes Valley Road and local services were transferred to the that hall from Koraunui Hall where they had been held for a time.
1952 was a momentous year in the life of the Stokes Valley Anglican Church. The local committee had decided to pursue the idea of building a Church, and at the April meeting of Parishioners, it was agreed that Stokes Valley should be formed into a sub-district and the following elected as the members of the first vestry:
? Vicar’s Warden: Ian Corbett.
? People’s Warden: Ned Ricketts.
? Secretary: Elaine Corbett.
? Treasurer: Dick Roberts.
The Vestrymen as they were referred to back then were:
? Evelyn Palmer.
? Betty Faulls.
? Beryl Taylor.
? Vic Robinson.
? Dave Pemberton.
? Gerry Gardner.
? Allan Webb.
? Ted Fredricks.
The establishment of this sub-district meant that local Anglicans were responsible for their own finances and it was the first step towards establishing Stokes Valley as a separate parish.
Plans for a Church building were prepared by James T. Craig based on a picture of a Church in a lawn cemetery in the United States of America, and approval to build was given by the Diocese following the formation of the 1950 committee, the name of “All Saints” had been adopted but when the plans for the building were approved the Bishop asked that the name be either, St, Stephen’s or St, Philip’s and the Vestry decided on the latter. Work commenced in late 1952 and this began six years of devotion and self sacrifice by a small band of men who undertook the work of building the Church on a Voluntary basis and it was only in the final stages that tradesmen were employed. The task was undertaken with great faith as funds available at the commencement totalled £40.00. The Foundation Stone was laid on the 21st March 1953 by the then Archbishop of New Zealand, and the Bishop of Wellington, the Most Reverend R.H. Owen. The stone was brought from St, Paul’s, London, being a piece of marble shattered from a high altar by enemy bombing during the Second World War. As a cost saving measure, it was decided to build in reinforced concrete faced with river stones from the Hutt River and some additional stones were collected by parishioners and friends from other parts of New Zealand. Set among the stones near the main entrance was a piece of Kawa Kawa Greenstone given by Mrs. L.P. Feary.
In 1954 the Reverend Cunliffe moved to Taihape, and the new vicar of the Taita – Stokes Valley Parochial District was the Reverend J.B. Arlidge who was inducted on the 29th April 1954. Three years later he transferred to Opunake and his successor, the Reverend A.W. Sutton, was inducted on the 21st February 1957. On occasions during the period of construction special services held within the partially completed walls and with only the sky above.
On most Saturdays the labour of love continued. As well as work it also meant money but fortunately, in addition to the usual fund-raising fairs and socials, a number of donations were received. One elderly lady in Wellington gave a cheque for £500 ($1000). She had seen in the papers what the local people were doing and wanted to help. Other donations included the land and $2400 from the Diocese and $2 from a well-wisher in Pahiatua.
In early 1958 tenders were let for the supply and installation of the roof timbers and the fixing of the slate roof. Also at that time, the vestry purchased an Army Hut from Trentham. This building, some 60 feet by 20 feet, was re-erected in October on the Rawhiti Street section as a Church Hall and Sunday School. And when Bishop Rich conducted the Church Dedication service on the 13th of December 1958, it marked the end of a monumental effort by the parishioners. In the year following, the bell which hangs in the bell tower alongside the Church was given by St, Peter’s Church Palmerston North.
In September 1961 the Reverend Sutton departed for Kilbirnie and on the 28th November the new vicar, The Reverend R.H.S. Smith was inducted, the service being held in St, Philip’s. The Central Committee of the Taita-Stokes Valley Sub Districts considered in early 1962 the building of a vicarage in Stokes Valley and the question was raised as to the cost of building on the hill site compared with building on a flat section would be a better proposition and after obtaining an estimate of building costs for both sections, it was decided to seek approval to the change of site.
Approval was given and the Vicarage section purchased from Mr Bogle in August 1962, the hill property being subsequently sold. In the same month a tender was let to G.H. Walker Ltd for the construction of the Vicarage which was dedicated on the 26th of November 1962.
In 1963 the Stokes Valley Vestry prepared a plan to become a separate parish from Taita. Reports were submitted by both districts and the Standing Committee approved the division. On the 11th of October 1964 the Bishop of Wellington the Right Reverend H.W. Baines, Commissioned the Parochial District of Stokes Valley.
The Reverend R.H. Smith transferred from Taita to Stokes Valley as its first resident Vicar. The Reverend Peter Cape was Honorary Assistant Priest from 1964 to 1973.
– from web site http://stphilipstonechurch.com/about/history/ accessed 2 April 2012
Hutt News 26 November 1958
New Church at Stokes Valley
Bishop E. J. Rich will conduct the dedication ceremony of St. Phillip”s Anglican Church, Stokes Valley, on December 13. The church has been built largely by the personal labours of the parishioners.