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Bishop Selwyn chapel is major step towards consecration of Auckland cathedral

Posted on: August 22, 2016 9:04 AM
The newly-dedicated Selwyn Chapel at Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral
Photo Credit: Jayson Rhodes / Auckland Cathedral
Related Categories: Auckland, Bp Ross Bay, Cathedral, New Zealand

[ACNS, by Jayson Rhodes] The opening of the Bishop Selwyn Chapel yesterday (Sunday) marked the physical completion of Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral and the commencement of its journey to consecration in October 2017. Bishop Augustus Selwyn arrived from England in 1842 and the following year purchased the land for a Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid in 1957 and two years ago the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was present as the first sod was turned for the new chapel.

The Bishop of Auckland, the Rt Revd Ross Bay told the full cathedral it was a real accomplishment to be proud of. “In round-figures, 175 years of dreaming, and 60 years of building. We stand ready then to prepare this building, and ourselves, for consecration next year.”

The chapel with its glass walls, and the placement of an 8.4 metre-high cross, encourages one to look outwards from the chapel space and was described by Bishop Ross Bay as this generation’s contribution to the development of a cathedral for Auckland. Bishops Ross knocked on the doors three times with his crozier before marking out the letters Alpha and Omega as he dedicated the chapel.

Fearon Hay Architects designed the chapel and challenged the idea of an inward-looking worship space. The design of glass walls and east end doors opening right up was described by Bishop Ross as allowing interplay between cathedral and community, a place of gathering and sending, of worship and mission.

Placed outside the chapel in the Trinity Garden is a gilded cross sculptured by Christchurch artist Neil Dawson. Bishop Ross described the placement of the cross as a reminder that the redeeming love of God is at work in the world in every moment and that the church is called to be present in that work. Standing in the chapel the cross is able to be seen through and you look towards an icon of Auckland known as One Tree Hill.

Dean Jo Kelly-Moore thanked all those who had given time and talent and money to the project that has had $14.9 million (NZD, approximately £8.25m GBP) pledged. Work continues before consecration on the new Cathedral organ, being built by Nicolson and Co. Five forty-foot containers have transported the organ, which will be the largest pipe organ in New Zealand, from their factory in Malvern England. Teams of builders will be present from Nicholson until the build is completed in the middle of next year.

  • The author is Priest-Assistant at Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

London-born George Augustus Selwyn was consecrated as the first Anglican Bishop of New Zealand in October 1841. He set sail for the then-British colony from Plymouth on Boxing day that year. With his 23-strong team of missionaries, he arrived in Sydney, Australia in April 1842, before finally reaching Auckland on 30 May 1842. After 26 years, he returned to the United Kingdom in 1868 to serve as Bishop of Lichfield – a post he held until his death, at the age of 69, on 11 April 1878. Auckland Cathedral has never been consecrated.