Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My world Tuesday: Auckland Baptist Tabernacle

This is at 429 Upper Queen Street. the Tab was our home church for more than ten years before we left for Singapore.

We were married in this church,
We were baptised here, and we had our son Andrew's funeral service here.
We made live long friends here.

The organ is a beautiful instrument.

The imposing Baptist Tabernacle at the top of Queen Street was the largest building in the town of Auckland when it was opened in 1886.

Since its founding in 1855 the Baptist Church congregation in Auckland had met in a building on the corner of Federal and Wellesley Streets. In 1881 the new Baptist pastor Thomas Spurgeon arrived from London and his preaching drew such crowds that a larger venue was needed.

At first, the Choral Hall on Symonds St was used, but eventually the site on the corner of Queen St and Karangahape Rd was purchased, and funds were raised for a building that would seat 1,500 people and accomodate possibly a further 300 standing.

The resulting building is modeled closely upon the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, a much larger building. This resemblance is doubtless due to the fact that Thomas Spurgeon’s father C. H. Spurgeon was the pastor of the London Church at this time.

The Queen Street building was designed by Edmund Bell and would have been visable all the way up Queen St from the waterfront. Both in its position on the crest of the hill at the top of Queen St and its huge Roman Imperial Portico it was calculated to impress. The enormous Corinthian columns appear to be based upon those of the Pantheon in Rome and have recently had the detailing of their capitals restored.

The choice of Roman Classical for the building is because this is the type of building that the early Christians under the Roman Empire would have prayed in. This is therefore a visual manifestation of the Early or “primitive” Christian Church before it was modified /corrupted during the medieval period. Whereas most 19th century Christian Churches favoured one of the various Gothic styles; here the Baptists have deliberately made a public statement to distance themselves from the darkness, gloom and superstition of the Middle Ages.


***Pix were taken by our friend Paul Khor***


Dave said...

Beautiful photos and an interesting story Ann. Thanks. Dave

Gattina said...

Very interesting story !

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for sharing your place of worship with us! It's a very important place in your live. So you went from Auckland to Singapore and then back again to NZ?

Ensurai said...

Tabernacle is a word from the Bible learnt long ago. There's a Tabernacle in Salt Lake City (learned from Osmond Family) and now I learn that there's one in Auckland from you!! How interesting!! Learning never stops.