The return of St Barnabas

DOORS OPEN: The wait is over for St Barnabas vicar, Mark Chamberlain who is thrilled to have the church reopening. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

St Barnabas will reopen its doors on Sunday – almost six years after it was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.

The iconic Fendalton Rd church has undergone $2 million in repairs.

It will be celebrating the opening at 10am on Sunday, February 19, just before the six-year anniversary of the quake.

St Barnabas vicar Mark Chamberlain said most church members have not yet been inside the church.

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch, Victoria Matthews, will speak at the opening service. A special choir of church members and others around the city will sing at the opening.

BEFORE AND AFTER: After six years the scaffolding will come off and St Barnabas will celebrate its recovery.

Items, such as the church’s bible, baptism jug and music books, which were removed from the church at the time of the earthquake, have been returned.

Rev Chamberlain said the returning items were “symbolic” of the church’s opening.

The repairs involved earthquake strengthening and repairing stonework and the stained glass windows.

The strengthening has brought the church up to at least 67 per cent of the new building standard.

Extensive fundraising to pay for the work was done by the church congregation, which had been using the adjacent hall since St Barnabas closed.

St Barnabas was originally built as a memorial church honouring those who died in World War 1.

It has been home to many influential Christchurch figures through its long history, including vicar and broadcaster Canon Bob Lowe and vicar Michael Underhill who went on to become dean of Christchurch.