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Wilson Street Baptist Church, Timaru - A  Gypsy Poulston window.

Wilson Street was established in 1914 on the current site as Timaru Baptist Church. While the beginnings were modest there was significant growth from the 1950s.

Set in stone -1882

Timaru Herald, 27 July 1894, Page 3

The fifteenth anniversary of the Timaru Baptist Church was celebrated last evening by a tea meeting. The tea was provided by ladies of the church, and the tables (ten in number) were presided over by Mesdames Clarkson, Rowbotbam, Steward, Fairbourne, Turner, Broadhead, Potts, Pattridge, Cox, H. Wagstaff, Miss Emmerson, assisted by the Misses Hodge, Parks, Westerman, Clarkson Battcock, Cox, Evans, and Gross. Twice the tables were filled by the members and friends of the church, who came in goodly numbers, and an abundance of refreshments of a choice kind were provided for their delectation. It was hoped that the Rev. C.C. Brown (pastor of the church) who has been laid aside for a fortnight suffering from congestion of the lungs, would have been sufficiently recovered to be present, but as he was still confined to his bed, his absence though unfortunate was unavoidable. But all worked together with a will, and under the guidance of the church officers everything went well. During the evening a letter was read from the sick pastor expressing regret at his inability to attend this year's anniversary meeting. In his letter Mr Brown referred to the fact that he is now in his tenth year of ministry in Timaru, during which time he has baptised and admitted to church membership 737 persons. Constant removals drain the strength and resources of a church, otherwise the Baptist community would be of no mean strength to-day, reference was also made to the special and successful efforts made during the last twelve months to reduce the mortgage on the church property— £l00 was raised and paid off, so that the debt has been reduced to £500 at 6¼ per cent,
    At the after meeting the choir, assisted by instrumentalists under the leadership of Miss Bezzant, rendered very effectively & service of song entitled "The Roll Call," which had evidently been most carefully rehearsed, and was accordingly thoroughly enjoyed by all present. Miss Clarkson as usual, ably officiated at the organ. The descriptive readings were given by Mr Potts.

Gypsy Poulston designed the contemporary stained glass windows at:
                                                Craighead Chapel  (1973)
                                                St. John's Anglican Church, Highfield, Timaru (1976)
                                                Woodlands Road Methodist Church (1978)
                                                and Wilson St. Baptist Church, Timaru 

Roy Miller window. Designed by Gypsy Poulston, executed by Roy Miller, c.1974.

The photos were taken by Margaret Todd, about 1130 a.m. 13th September 2010. Note the little hole in the blue pane.

This stone was laid on April 13th 1916 by C. Cathie, Esq. 
  Rev. M. W. P. Lascelles, Pastor.

Montague William Percy Lascelles died 20 Sept. 1939, aged 76

This lovely wall hanging in the Wilson St. Baptist nave was creatively stitched in Timaru by Joy Bruce.
 A Joy quilt by Joy. Permission obtained from Joy in September 2010 to place image on this website. Thanks Joy.

Timaru Herald, 23 July 1892, Page 2
At the Baptist Church tomorrow evening the Rev. C.C. Brown will take on his subject, "The way of transgressors is hard. A clean dry crust is better than dirty bread and butter. Solomon says, 'He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house.' And also, 'Better is a little with righteousness than a large income with injustice.' "

Timaru Herald, 5 November 1895, Page 4 FAREWELL SERMON.
On Sunday evening the Sophia Street Hall, where the Baptist congregation have met for some time past, was well filled to hear the Rev. C. C. Brown's farewell sermon. The scripture read was the 20th chapter of the Acts, which contains St. Paul's farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus, and for the text of his discourse Mr Brown read verses 25— 27. At the outset he stated that he, took charge of the Baptist Church in Timaru in June 1885— ten and a half years ago-when there were only eight members of the church, and they had a debt of £500 on their building, the chapel which was afterwards burned down. They had brave hearts, however, and stuck together, and pulled the church out of its difficulties. Now with no debt and fifty members they could not get along. The minister then gave an explanation of the cause of his leaving. He claimed to have done honestly and earnestly while he had been in Timaru, and his work, in God's hands, had not been fruitless, for in the ten years 103 persons had been baptised and 128 had joined the church. He glanced at his work as a teacher during his ministry here, and enumerated some of the special Biblical studies that had been taken up — questions relating to the doctrine of the future life chiefly- and claimed to have been entirely independent in his opinions and utterances as a teacher. He could say, with St. Paul, that he had not shunned to declare to all the counsel of God. He had never played at preaching, but had ever borne in mind the warning in Ezekiel, that the minister who did not warn the sinner of the wrath to come would be held guilty of his blood in the last day. He had been as faithful as "he knew now to be in his preaching, and never failed to say something about the way of Salvation. Before God he humbled himself ; but before his congregation he would say that he had warned the unbeliever; The preacher's farewell words were an amplification of the words of Paul in verse 32. Hymns appropriate to the occasion were sung during the service. A farewell social will be held in the hall this evening.

Star 10 November 1890, Page 3
FIRE AT TIMARU. Baptist Church Destroyed.
A fire, at 2 a.m., destroyed the Baptist Church — which was built of timber six or seven years ago at a cost of £650 — and gutted the adjoining cottage owned and occupied by Mr B. Munro, bootmaker. The church was insured for £450, and Munro's for £100 in the Equitable Insurance Office. The fire commenced in the church, but how is a mystery. The congregation owed more than the insurance, and being a small body, the loss is a heavy blow.

Evening Post, 8 November 1915, Page 2
Mr. M. W. P. Lascelles, who has had the oversight of the Petone Baptist Church for the last year, has accepted a call to the pastorate of the church of that domination lately formed in Timaru. He undertakes his new duties in January

Evening Post, 14 April 1916, Page 2 New Baptist Church
Timaru, 13th April. The resuscitated congregation of Baptists to-day laid the foundation of a new church here. Mr. Charles Cathie, president of the Union, and visitors from Christchurch, were present.

Ashburton Guardian, 19 December 1918, Page 5
At a large meeting of the members of the Timaru Baptist Church last evening; it was unanimously decided to send a call to the pastorate to Pastor E. Nicholls, of South Dunedin. Pastor M. W. P. Lascelles; the present pastor in Timaru, is resigning at the end of January, as he is making a tour of all the Baptist churches in the Dominion as president of the Baptist Union.

Evening Post, 9 November 1938, Page 8
Farewell services were preached at the Island Bay Baptist Church this week by the Rev. A. L. Silcock, who is leaving to become pastor of the Timaru Baptist Church. Mr. Silcock has been at Island Bay for the past four and a half years. On Monday evening a public farewell was tendered to Mr. and Mrs. Silcock in the church. The meeting was presided over by Mr. H. M. Palmer, church secretary, and associated with him on the platform were the Rev. M. W. P. Lascelles (president-elect of the Baptist Union), the Rev. A.L. North (secretary of the Baptist Union), Mr. J. R. Carey (representing the central auxiliary), and Mr. Hildreth (Houghton Bay branch).

Evening Post, 7 May 1917, Page 6
The members of the Timaru Baptist Church last week farewelled Pastor M. W. P. Lascelles (formerly stationed at Petone), who is leaving for the front as a Y.M.C.A. commissioner. The Mayor (Mr. J. Maling) and Mr. Craigie, M.P., were amongst those present. The speakers emphasised the good work Pastor Lascelles had done while in Timaru. Presentations were made to the Pastor and his son, Mr. Arthur Lascelles.

Poverty Bay Herald, 14 March 1918, Page 7
Word has been received in Timaru that Pastor M. W. P. Lascelles, formerly of the Timaru Baptist Church, who has been serving as a Y.M.C.A. Commissioner, has arrived at Bombay. Pastor Lascelles was on board, the troopship Aragon when she was sunk in the eastern Mediterranean on December 30th and 600 lives were lost. He jumped into the water and kept himself afloat until help arrived. He lost everything except the clothes he was wearing.

The Aragon, 9,588 tons, built in 1905 arrived at Alexandria on Dec. 30th, and was permitted to enter the harbour but there was no berth available and she was ordered out of the harbour. She anchored outside harbour without any protection against a submarine attack. Torpedoed by U-boat UC 34 for which she was an easy target, 610 causalities. There were 2700 people on board.

Thames Star, 1 February 1918, Page 3 "Women First"
The story of the Aragon sinking from a nurse who was on board. She says: — We sailed from Marseilles under destroyer escort. We sighted land at 10.40 on Dec. 30. The Aragon, was torpedoed half an hour later. The nurses were sent away in the early boats, and all were saved. She saw the Aragon settling deep by the stern while the troops on deck were singing. Several boats were soon on on the spot. After the ship sank they picked up many. The destroyer was torpedoed immediately afterwards while packing up survivors from the water. She had hundreds of rescued troops on board when the destroyer broke in half. The nurse adds that the Osmanich sank in five minutes. She had forty nurses on board. Eight of the dead were brought ashore.

Poverty Bay Herald, 9 February 1918, Page 8 Luck that changed.
When the disaster occurred, all those on board were wearing lifebelts. The high death rate was due to the fact that 200 rescued men were again thrown into, the water when the rescuing destroyer was torpedoed. Apparently two submarines were engaged in the Aragon's destruction. The weather was most favorable. The first torpedo did considerable damage, and flung the men to the deck. The torpedo rent the bottom, of the Vessel, tearing a great hole. It was at once seen that, the ship was doomed. Captain Bateman superintended the work of getting the lifeboats out. The greatest gallantry was displayed. The troops did not move towards the boats containing the women; though the Aragon was already dipping badly. Finally the ship heeled over so far that the men fell down. The colonel in charge of the deck gave the order "Abandon ship," and the officers repeated the order "Everyone save himself" and jumped. The boats quickly came back, when the nurses had been transferred to the other ships and rescued many of the soldiers from the water.  poem

The destroyer HMS Attack, 785 tons, was engaged in this work of rescue she was literally blown in two by a mine and disappeared with 10 of her crew. On the following day the liner Osmanieh, 4041 tons, struck a mine at the entrance to the harbour on December 31sth, 1917, she was carrying troops and medical staff to Alexandria, 198 casualties. The mines were laid by the German submarine UC 34.

The Baptist Lascelles Hall, Wilson Street (1916-2013)

14 June 2013 Timaru Herald
The hall was a large building attached to the church, was built in 1916 and has undergone extensions and alterations over the years, will be demolished starting Monday 15th June 2013. A new hall with a covered foyer entrance to the church will be built in its place. The old hall which will be demolished as part of the church property’s redevelopment with work starting on Monday. Part of the parking area in front of the current hall and where the offices are located will be subdivided and sold, with car parking created at the back of the manse, next door. The redevelopment is expected to be completed by October 2014. Pastor John McMullan said "We hope to continue to serve the Lord and serve the community with hospitality and friendship."

21st Aug. 2013

The Timaru Herald on 21 August 2013 had a photo of the Baptist hall minus its roof. The roof was taken off and will be dismantled and its parts sold to help fund the new hall and church foyer entrance. The project is expected to be completed by October 2014.  Two time capsules were uncovered in the church's hall foundations during a recent redevelopment. The 1964 and 1939. The 1939 contained a Timaru Herald, New Zealand Baptist magazine and beautifully handwritten letters in an Agee jar. The items will be scanned for posterity and returned to a new capsule alongside some yet to be decided modern items. The capsule will be buried in the new hall. "In those days whole families always came to church. You weren't allowed to sew or prepare a meal on Sundays and Church was three times every Sunday, with morning service, evening service and Sunday School in the afternoon."


To the Glory of God. This stone was laid by the Pastor Rev. R.L. Furgson on Sat. 21st March 1964 to mark extensions to these buildings and the Golden Jubilee year of this Church. Travis & Ward, Builders.
To the Glory of God. This stone was laid on July 22nd 1939 by the Hon. The Rev. J.K. Archer, M.L.C. to mark the 25th year of the church. A.L. Silcock, Pastor.
This stone was laid on Sept. 4th 1919 by Mrs I. Black. E. Nicholls, Pastor.
Opened to the Glory of God April 25 1970


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