Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Posts Tagged ‘church

St Patrick’s Church, Hawea Flat, New Zealand

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My daughter’s friend lived in this charming historic church in Central Otago, which was designed by the renowned George Gilbert Scott. He was the architect of the Christchurch Cathedral which was destroyed by the earthquake of 2011. It was the first church in the area (soon followed by St Ninyans and another near Tarras). It was deconsecrated around 1980 (I think) and has been used as a community centre and now a residence.
It would be wonderful to see it restored sometime, but the current owner seems to be doing a fairly decent job of preserving it.
The light was quite amazing the first day we photographed it, but we went back a second time and got some more, equally interesting shots.

The view from the road as we approached.Wan14FB---15

The light was just amazing that day – it was very cloudy, but there were breaks to the west, giving the church a very warm, welcoming look.Wan14FB---9

The cross at the front of the building.Wan14FB---10     Some little girl’s shoes left in the window a while back…Wan14FB--60

When the sun disappeared, the church appeared almost Gothic, with brutal detail. This is the rear view – the altar would have been just behind those windows back in the day. It is the kitchen area now. StP-ext-fb-2Similar view to the golden light a few images up. Not so welcoming here.

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Let me introduce you to two of the residents. Straw men, wearing old prisoner and guard of the local work camp. I don’t recall how they were obtained exactly – but they were sold to the local Moari after the prison system shifted to the much more fashionable day-glo orange.Wan3-StP-7 FB

Last light of day – a bit Wuthering Heights… it doesn’t really get much more romantic than this…Wan14FB---13

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10/06/2014 at 11:04 pm

Going to Church

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Unexpectedly came up this tiny little church near Awhitu Central, on our way to the Manukau Head Lighthouse this past weekend. Thought we’d stop and take a few photos.

I think God would like it here.

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These seat cushions are all hand-made, one of a kind. The little blankets you see over the pews are for when the church is very cold on Sunday mornings. Very tiny, only 7 rows of pews. Nothing flash.

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22/07/2013 at 1:37 am

The church at twilight

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21/11/2012 at 8:17 pm

Inside Out

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Inside Out

This image is so far disconnected from the actual event… I went to a Diwali event a friend was hosting in an old church that is now used as a public meeting space, very lovely. Beautiful singing – those hypnotic quarter tones that twist and fold my European sensibilities, many of the older people softly sentimental for a time and place long gone – wiping away a few tears. (One of the hard things about being an emigrant is that when you do get to ‘go home’ it’s changed. It’s not the same – the streets, the shops, the clothes, the people… and sometimes the only place you can find it is in the old songs – when you close your eyes.)

And then, in the middle of this seriousness, a disorganised little flash-mob started a groove, which, given the moment, evolved into a bit of Indian Gangnam Style – which was met by a Bangra challenge into a bit of Bangnam Style – or something absurdly wonderful…

But I took this photo when the light was just perfect – still brighter outside than inside, just barely and the sunset was glorious – what little bit I could see from my seat. And it reminded me of so many church services that were survived only by gazing longingly out the window, dreaming of playing or running or really, doing anything but sit there bored to death…

And it occurs to me now – that it was the threat of damnation I was indifferent to – not the fear… I was fearless. Except for Sister Rose Andrew. I was definitely afraid of her! She could whoop ass like no one before or since…

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20/11/2012 at 8:23 pm

Busy being dead

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Wandering through an old neighbourhood in Bari, Italy a few years ago on a hot hot summer day. We browsed the shops, explored the narrow streets and curious piazzas and stopped in on all the churches. (I am on a mission to find all the Marys I possibly can… and Italy is literally the mother-lode.) As the afternoon wore on, my husband had had enough of churches, so by the time we made it to the Bari Cathedral, he opted to sit in the plaza by himself and watch the local children kicking a ball against the outside wall of the church.

I went in alone. The interior was cool and quiet, and typical of southern Italy. I found a very charming Mary in the apse, one of my favourites of all time. (I blogged an image of her here, one of my early days learning Photoshop things – a bit overwrought, I’m afraid, but she is still delightful.)

I was ready to leave when I noticed an arrow pointing down the stairs to the crypt. Possibly one of the more grisly places I have  been – dozens of mini coffins containing bundled bones and occasionally other bits and pieces of saints and religious notables. There was a large, gated off area which appeared to be mostly 24 carat gold and white marble, containing the remains of a bishop.

I made my way to the other side of the crypt and came upon what could only be described as a macabre inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s glass coffin. At first I thought it was a statue, or life-size doll, but it seems it is the desiccated remains of Colomba di Sens. She was a virgin martyr, born in Spain, somehow ended up in Gaul, who may or may not have been a converted witch. And ended up being beheaded. In 273. Over 1700 years ago. This is her ‘miraculously’ perfectly preserved body. At least this is what the information in the church claims – with no explanation as to how she got from France to Southern Italy – or more curiously, how her head is so perfectly reattached.

I was, and still am, fascinated by her. There is a story here, something strange and possibly quite awful – but the protagonists took their secrets to the grave with them. Shame this poor young woman wasn’t given the same courtesy. How dreadful to spend an eternity busy being dead. No rest in peace for this chick…

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

16/09/2012 at 2:30 am

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