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Every Sunday morning there are two events taking place at the church lounge at 288 Oxford Terrace:

This has hymn singing, organ music, sermon, praying, and other content.  It is an hour-long service with

morning tea afterwards.  


For more info contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

We sing more recent church music lead by a band, there is a sermon, praying, and other content.  

Alongside this is a children's programme.  Come early for morning tea (from 10.30am).  

For more info contact Julie Chamberlain.

There are Youth Group activities during the week, we have a Friday night drop-in, English classes on

Thursday mornings for people new to New Zealand, mainly music for toddlers and their caregivers

on Tuesday mornings, a yoga class for women on Friday mornings, all happening in our church lounge

at 288 Oxford Terrace.  There are some other worship and pray events that happen during the week

or monthly, and weekly small groups that happen around the city in people's homes.  From time to

time we host a lecture series on certain topics or themes.

As a faith community we would define ourselves currently as evangelical Baptists with a growing focus

on community, discipleship, and mission.  We seek to be a place that embraces diversity as we serve

and worship God in this city.  There have been a number of staff changes and additions since 2008,

along with some new members and visitors.  We are excited about how God is guiding us at this time,

especially since the 2010/2011 earthquakes in Canterbury. 


In July 2011 our earthquake destroyed 1881 church building was cleared away and over summer

sunflowers were planted on the site with the help of two classes of children from the Christchurch

East School.  Many other volunteers helped make this happen, as well as generous donations of

seedlings and compost from the Greening Spaces project. 

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On the one-year anniversary of the 22 February 2011 earthquake which killed 185 people, local artist

Peter Majendie of the Sidedoor Arts Trust, with the help of several volunteers created a temporary art

installation called 185 Empty Chairs which reflected on the loss of lives, livelihood and living in our

city following the earthquake on 22 February 2011.  


The 185 chairs were placed on 185 square meters of ready-lawn grass, exactly where the pews of the

old church building were placed - except facing the opposite direction. 

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The concept of The Empty Chair depicts the absence or loss of someone and has been used

repeatedly across time and culture.  When artist (Samuel) Luke Fildes (1844-1927) learned

of the death of Charles Dickens, for whom he was illustrating book, he drew “The Empty

Chair, Gad’s Hill – Ninth of June 1870″ showing Dickens’ empty desk and chair.  It was

inspiration to Vincent Van Gogh when, in November 1888, he portrayed the differences

between his temperament, and approach to art and life, and that of fellow artist Gauguin

in two separate paintings.   


More recently, public memorials have made use of empty chairs to embody loss of lives,

as in Bryant Park, New York, where the lawn was lined with 2,753 empty chairs facing

south toward the fallen towers ahead of the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th

terrorist attacks — one to honor each person who died in the attacks.  Similarly, the

victims of the 1995 Oklahoma bombing are remembered at an Outdoor Symbolic

Memorial, with their names etched on chairs constructed of bronze and glass. In

Krakow, Poland, a memorial to the Jews of the Jewish ghetto was inaugurated on

8 December 2005 and included 33 steel and cast iron chairs (1.4 m high) in the town

square and 37 smaller chairs (1.2 m high) standing on the edge of the square and

at tram stops.


Here, on the site of the fallen 1881 Oxford Terrace Baptist Church building, 185 chairs of all shapes

and sizes symbolize those who lost their lives in the Canterbury earthquake on 22 February 2011.

The individuality of each chair pays tribute to the uniqueness of each person represented.

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This church was formed by nineteen English Baptists in 1863 – thirteen years after the founding of

Christchurch.  The first minister was Decimus Dolamore, who was one of the pioneers of Baptist

work in New Zealand.  The congregation initially met in the Town Hall in High Street, then built

a church on land it had purchased in Lichfield Street (1864), now marked by a plaque on a building

opposite the Bus Exchange.  After an unfortunate division within the membership (1867), the people

reunited in 1870 and worshipped in a church in Hereford Street, which was moved to the present

site in Oxford Terrace in 1879.  The church has had a long association with the life of the city, has

been involved in setting up new congregations in Christchurch, and was a founding member of the 

Baptist Union of New Zealand and the New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society (now called



The church building pictured below was built in 1881 and was destroyed by earthquake and the site

cleared in 2011.  Its classical design was notable in a city dominated by Gothic architecture. It was

listed as a Category 1 building under the New Zealand Historical Places Register.

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The refurbishment of the interior of the church in the late 1980s provided a light, open space.

The pipe organ, imported from England, was installed in 1915 and continued to play a part in the

10.30am Sunday worship of the church until the building was red stickered following the earthquake

in September 2010.  The pipe organ was successfully recovered from the building and is now stored

in pieces at the South Island Organ Company in Timaru. 


The building suffered serious damage from the 4 September 2010 earthquake and the front facade

was propped up in anticipation of repair.

The building was totally destroyed by the 22 February 2011 earthquake which caused the side walls

to fall outwards and the roof collaspe. 

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We also lost three residential properties next to the church site.  All of our buildings were insured

and we will eventually replace what was lost with things that suit our twenty-first century expressions

and dreams of Christian-faith-community in our local context.