New role for refurbished building

Returning to its former glory.... Sue and Carl van Schreven have purchased and are restoring the Athol Anglican church so it can be used once again.

Athol has a new place to gather, after the former Anglican church was sold.

The church was deconsecrated in 2018 and last used in 2016.

It was put on the market a few months ago and has been bought by a private trust established by Queenstown couple Sue and Carl van Schreven.

Mrs van Schreven said the couple invested in the church so it could remain in place for locals and visitors.

‘‘I think of the historical significance of those back in 1920 working towards building and opening this church and did not want it to be lost. It is about preserving history.’’

The building would be open to the public and a place for people, including travellers, to go and take a breath and learn about history, she said.

‘‘We hope it reminds people about our Christian heritage and God. It is a place where people can come and have a quiet moment . . .that would be wonderful.’’

Landscaping, restoration and cleaning work needs to be completed.

Work so far has unearthed some treasures, including a 1940 penny.

Work was also under way to fix the church bell, which had been stolen but was recovered from a wrecker’s yard.

The clapper inside was not found and the bell was at a foundry in Christchurch being fixed.

The church should be open to the public by summer.