The Tawa Union Church
The rationale for union came through three denominations (Methodist, Presbyterian and Church of Christ) working together in a variety of ways over many years with combined services, pulpit exchanges and combined activities. What the three denominations shared in common far outweighed any differences. The amalgamation went smoothly with members of each congregation giving overwhelming approval for the plan.
The inauguration of the Tawa Union Parish took place on 2 July 1972. The agreement was signed at a service of worship and thanksgiving in the Tawa College hall. The name was changed to Tawa Union Church in 2005.
The Tawa Flat Cause was closely associated with the Webb St Primitive Methodist Church. In 1851, Stephen Pilcher, an early settler, donated part of his farm for the site of a church, the Tawa Flat Methodist Church, at 91 Main Road Tawa (near Redwood Avenue). By 1864 the church needed enlarging and in 1884 its rotting timbers meant it needed to be replaced. The second church served the community for 69 years until the district’s population meant the congregation needed a larger and more central worship building. In 1951 the foundation stone of a new church, St. Stephen’s, was laid in Elena Place. The church was opened in 1953, built mainly with voluntary labour and costing £4500.
The Youth and Sunday School Hall were built (1957-59), and the upstairs rooms, lounge and kitchen were added in 1969.
Regular services for Presbyterians in Tawa began at the end of 1937 as an outreach of St. Columba’s Presbyterian Church in Johnsonville, and were held in various venues.
Mr. Stuart Duncan offered land for a church on the corner of the Main Road and Linden Ave. The foundation stone was laid on 6 September 1952 and St. Aidan’s was opened three months later, much of the work provided by volunteers.
St. Aidan’s Church was later stretched for space, and there was also a need to develop a worship base in the newly growing Redwood area. A site on the corner of Redwood and Oriel Avenues was purchased by the Presbyterian Church and earthworks were undertaken. However, resources could not be stretched to cover building new facilities. A form of co-operation with the Associated Churches of Christ enabled St. Aidan’s to concentrate its energy and financial resources on its own building requirements at Linden.
The Associated Churches of Christ (now Christian Church N.Z.)
Services began in 1959 in the Tawa Scout Hall and later in a building in Luckie Street.
In May 1967 Presbyterians’ representatives approached Church of Christ members and asked if they would consider pooling resources with them, to build a multipurpose church hall on the Redwood site. In little more than a year, the necessary legal clearances had been obtained and construction began.
The Redwood Christian Centre opened in February 1969. It served not only Churches of Christ people in the area, but also any Presbyterians in the Redwood area who wished to attend.