by GILLIAN VINE
A DUNEDIN church, where poet James K. Baxter worshipped in the 1960s, has been decommissioned.
St Andrew’s Ocean View, not used regularly for several years, was formally closed on November 27 at a decommissioning Mass concelebrated by Bishop Colin Campbell and Mosgiel-Green Island parish priest Fr Michael Dooley.
It was a sad day when a church was decommissioned, Bishop Campbell told the 35 people present, but it was important to remember that the church was not about buildings, but people. There was also a sense of thanksgiving for those who had experienced Church life at Ocean View, he said.
In 1949, The New Zealand Tablet announced that the seaside suburb of Brighton was to have Mass at least once a month. In 1959, Mass was transferred to nearby Ocean View, services being held in a hall before the church — part of the Green Island parish — was opened and blessed in March 1962. The church, with seating for 80, was part of a house bought from the Ministry of Works for £55 ($110 but, probably equivalent to $2000 today). Moving it to the site cost £30.
Baxter and his mother, Millicent, attended Mass regularly in St Andrew’s early days and several people at the decommissioning Mass remembered them well.
Bishop Campbell asked that, as they reflected on the good times and the sad times, people put their memories in the context of Advent, that Christ was the head of the Church, yesterday today and tomorrow.
St Andrew’s will now be sold.

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