Church sold after more than 100 years

Time for a change . . . St Albans Balfour Anglican church has been secularised and sold. PHOTO HELEN MCFELIN

A Balfour church which served as a place of worship for more than 100 years has been sold.

St Alban’s Anglican Church in Balfour was built in 1903 and was funded through donations and fundraising.

In its heyday the church was well supported but in recent years the number attending church services has dwindled.

Church secretary Dianne Napper said there were five regulars attending the church and no sign of any younger parishioners attending in the future.

‘‘The church needed repairs and we didn’t have the money for that nor a future congregation for that.

‘‘It was time to change the format of the church.’’

Anglican Diocese of Dunedin registrar Andrew Metcalfe said it was no longer financially feasible to keep the church.

‘‘The decision was made by the remaining parishioners in consultation with the diocese.

‘‘They were no longer in a position to be able to maintain the building or themselves as a local church.’’

The Balfour church is one of several sold recently as the diocese looked to divest itself of buildings which were falling into disrepair.

‘‘It is always sad to see places like St Alban’s sold, but we are developing a different model of ministry that will focus on caring for people

— those in the church and others — in rural communities, rather than trying to maintain all our buildings.’’

Money from the sale of the church would be used to develop rural chaplaincy in Southland, he said.

Saying goodbye . . . 20 people gathered for a final service to secularise and say goodbye to St Albans Anglican church in Balfour. PHOTO ANDREW METCALFE