Sunday 10 April 2011: Farewell
As a community we traveled by bus into the red zone within the cordon to attend a service for the Deconsecration of St Luke's in the City. It was eerie and confronting to see a slice of the inner part of our city either cleared and gone, broken, crooked or simply without signs of life and vitality.
I never intended going to St Luke's nearly 6 years ago. It was purely accidental. Mum was staying with me and I knew she'd appreciate me taking her to church on Mothers' Day.
Unlike any other church I've experienced, St Luke's is not beset with an unhealthy preoccupation with sex and what goes on in the bedrooms of the nation. It's inclusive and loving regardless of colour, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other distinction.
I've stood at the altar with prostitutes, transvestites, people who are gay, straight, single, married or in partnerships and people of different nationalities. I've stood with people of different beliefs, no beliefs, varying levels of sanity, others who need to live in care. This is how it should be. No distinction, no judgment.
Many have been married, baptised, confirmed, farewelled and even divorced here. Even more have simply come in the door and sat quietly in peace. The church had extraordinary acoustics and the local community eagerly supported jazz, classical and choral concerts, and art exhibitions. It had an outstanding pipe organs, one of the best in Christchurch. There can't be many left now.
Another piece of history is coming to an end but there will be something else. That is all for another time with decisions about the stability of land etc all to be worked through. She is a beautiful building even in ruins. Now a process of 'deconstruction' will begin but that is really a kind word for demolition.
Closure on one part of history and the start of something new.
It was a privilege to be there, say good bye and give my thanks. Sad yes, but a good day.