Knox Christian Centre - About Us
The Knox Christian Community is a small group of enthusiastic people working in God's vineyard. We have a part time Minister the Rev Clive Thomson
The Leaders Team consists of two Women and four Men and meet monthly generally on the fourth Tuesday.
The Rev Thomson takes two Sunday services a month with different speakers filling in the remainder.
Knox Christian Centre 48 Albert Street
P.O.Box 4163, Hamilton East 3247
Phone 856-5687 E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
EARLY DAYS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN HAMILTON.
The Presbyterian Church in the Waikato was first served by Rev. T. Norrie working from Papakura. Waikato was actually part of the Papakura charge until 1866 when Rev. J.M. Taylor accepted Waikato as his charge It was then, when the Waikato land wars eased and the members of the 4th Waikato Regiment received their grants of land, that Alexander Buchanan gave his one acre town section to the Presbytery. On this, the first Presbyterian Church and Manse in Hamilton were built, facing Grey Street, and completed in 1867, where St Mary's Catholic Cathedral stands today. Previously, Church members in Hamilton met at Rev. Taylor's residence. When Rev. Taylor resigned in 1869, the Rev's Stewart, Neill and Evans, supplied the charge from Cambridge. On July 1885, in response to a congregation petition, Hamilton became a separate charge. The Rev. D. Ross continued until Rev. J. M. Mitchell was inducted as a permanent Minister on 16th. December 1896 to St Andrews Church, as this first Presbyterian Church and Parish was called.
The Rev's Tennant, 1901- 02, and Adams, 1902 - 09, supplied the charge, and in 1909 the Rev. A. Gow - father of a later Minister at Knox - was inducted to St. Andrews. In 1914 he became the first Minister of the new Church, built on its present site in River Road. In 1918, the Church at Gordonton was built - this was still part of St. Andrews - and in 1921, when the Grey street section was sold, the original St Andrews Church, was removed to Albert street for use as a Sunday School. However, this was not accomplished without incident! An eyewitness report states that although the steeple was removed and the pitch of the roof lowered to reduce height, telephone lines remained a problem. Passers-by were treated to the sight of the Church proceeding up Grey street with the contractor on the roof, lifting wires out of the way with 'cross' pieces of timber! After a few years of service as a Sunday School, the old wooden building was given to the newly formed Hamilton East Parish by the St Andrews Parish and it became the Hamilton East Parish.
The Parish was formed by the secession of Hamilton East, Gordonton, Horsham Downs and Rototuna from St Andrews, and the first session meeting in the new Parish was held on the 7th September 1925 with representatives of all Parishes attending. Messrs Powell, Emmett, Hayes, Wallace and, later, Messrs Williamson and Milne were prominent too, among the Managers. The first Minister, Rev R. Morgan was inducted to the charge on 1st December 1925. He was succeeded in 1928 by the Rev. James Haslop, under whose care the Church grew considerably. Rev. H.J. Lilburn followed as Minister in 1935 and during his ministry, part of the old Hamilton Court House was purchased. This was adapted as a hall and Sunday School. The semi circular windows were covered over for many years, and have only recently been exposed, giving the building more light and character. The tennis courts were also laid down in this pre-war period.
Rev. W. Carmichael succeeded Rev. Lilburn and a lot of consolidation work was done then. The Rev. M. Gow, son of a previous Minister, was called to the combined Parish in 1949. During his ministry the Parish grew greatly and a Sunday School hall was erected at Gordonton with voluntary labour. This has since had two classrooms added to it. In 1953 a new Church was built at Horsham Downs. Handsome additions to the work of God in the Parish. About 5th May 1936, the City Parish was renamed 'Knox' instead of 'Hamilton East'. In 1954, after discovering that the 1867 church, which had served the Church for well over eighty years, had to be replaced, the congregation then, with a great act of faith, decided to commit themselves to building a new Church and Manse. The Appeal brochure says in part, "It will only be, by one and all making great sacrifices, that we shall succeed in increasing our present funds sufficiently to enable our purposes to be accomplished. It is very evident from the results so far achieved that a very definite "New Life" spirit is abroad amongst the members of Knox - a spirit of progress - and what a glorious monument to the Glory of God, it will 'be, when we bring our plans to fruition." At that time, the communicant roll stood at 190.
The new Church building was completed in 1957 at a cost of approximately $20.000, a fair price for 'those times, and the commemorative plaque in the Church foyer incorporates the only piece of the old Church that is preserved. Rev. E.R. Harries came as Minister in 1958, about three months before the new Manse was completed. He paid tribute to the session of the time, and especially to Mr Cas. Parsons who was one of the main driving forces behind the new building projects. In the following years, the communicant roll increased significantly. The Billy Graham campaign in 1959 could have helped this. Knox participated to the full, and this heightened interest in the Christian faith meant greater attendances at Services, the return to communicant status of many ex-members and a greater demand for communicant classes. The Stewardship campaign proved very successful and people entered fully into Church life. This enthusiasm continued for years and applied equally in town and country Parishes. If this short outline of Knox does not mention these three Parishes in more detail it is because, though they were an integral part of and played a strong part in the combined Parish, this is mainly confined to the city Parish. Full Services were held regularly at all three country Parishes and the youth groups were a cheerful part of Church life. Because of this combined city-country Parish with it's differing needs many devoted lay Preachers trained at the Presbytery Course. These have proved invaluable on many occasions and, together with Elders, were real representatives of Christianity and faith. At this time Hillcrest was still part of Knox but when it formed it's own Parish, two sections in Berkley Avenue were gifted to the new Church. Many families in the Hillcrest area were lost to Knox at that time. Our first Deaconess, Sister Flora MacDonald arrived in 1963, and the Parishes kept her busy. Church activities included Sunday School, Youth Groups and Bible Study and the Ladies Sewing Circle with Mrs Meinung. Sister Flora spanned two ministries and she, together with Lay Preachers, Elders and Managers were a continuing factor in Knox between 1967 when Rev. E. R. Harries retired, and 1968 when Rev. J. Battersby became Minister. Organizations included the Knox Ladies Guild with its many hours of work and fund raising, the P.W.M.U. (originally formed in 1926), Ladies Friendly Group (1956), Busy Bee and Tennis Clubs. Theological debate was a major factor in the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand as a whole then and Knox was no exception. Many people started thinking more deeply than before about their faith and a stronger spirit of co-operation continued in the Lord's work and greater tolerance abounded. During the ministry of Rev. J. Battersby the custom was started of having a Christmas tree in Church and the children of the Parish encouraged to bring small gifts to it. These were sent, through the Christian Festivals Committee mainly to Asian orphanages.
By 1974 the mortgage on the Church was fully paid off and it was decided to give the whole offering for that year to worthy Christian causes. The Narrows Park, The Anchorage and Leprosy Mission all benefited greatly from this. Knox had always had a devoted band of Lay Preachers and helpers and, although names are not being mentioned in this outline, an exception has to be made for Mr Fred Clements who did so much, having been connected with the Parish since its inception. A member of Session for 35 years and Session Clerk for 30 years, he acted as a bond throughout the scattered Parishes as he was well known in town and country alike. He exercised a wise and moderating Christian influence until his death in 1972.
Rev. J. Battersby continued his ministry until 1975 and again a devoted band of Lay Preachers and workers kept Knox alive until 1976 when the Rev. Gowrie Grant arrived to take charge.-Meanwhile the exteriors of the Church and Hall were painted, the Manse enlarged and a garage built on. (Two specimen trees were planted by the Girls Brigade to celebrate their Golden Year). Since before 1975, it had become clear that there was a need for a re-organisation of Parishes. By the mid 70's town Parishes in the shape of Fairfield, Claudelands and Chartwell had expanded to include much of the old country district, and Knox became physically isolated from its Parishes of Gordonton, Horsham Downs and Rototuna. The decision to annex the country churches to Fairfield Parish was taken by Presbytery in 1977.
The first woman Elder, Miss Helen McClymont was inducted in 1980 and became the first woman Session Clerk in 1983, also in that year Rev. Fred Bradley was inducted as assistant Minister. After the arrival of Rev. Gowrie Grant in 1976 the Church grew in all spheres. His enthusiasm helped to build up the congregation from the small group remaining after the 'break' from the country areas. Enthusiastic working bees made possible improvements to the the Church and Manse including the construction of the ramps for the disabled. Many groups met on a regular basis, among then the A.P.W. with a membership of 35. The Sewing Circle was a part of this group and both assisted and promoted Church projects e.g. seat cushions for the Church pews and the building of the ramps, with funds raised.
1985 - 1990
In this period House Church started. The initial group of 25 came from 10 homes. In the same. year the Rev. Gowrie Grant was inducted as Moderator of Presbytery. In 1986 a member of Youth Group and Music Group, Wim de Bruin received the Duke of Edinburgh Award for Young Achievers. This led to his taking a year of training in furniture crafting in England. In 1987 Chris Konings went to Bible College. Bruce Howat started his studies at Knox Theological Hall prior to entering the Ministry. Also in this year a number of our members participated in the Luis Palau Mission with several of them training to assist with 'follow-up' and Gowrie Grant announced that he had accepted a call to St. Andrews, Birkenhead. It was in September 1988 that the Rev. Elama Maea preached at Knox with a view to a call being issued. Elama and his wife, Emily, were both well received by the congregation and a call was extended to Elama and accepted by him. Elama and Emily arrived in February 1989.The following year a bequest from the late Jean Collie was used to build a kitchen on to the Classroom Block. The kitchen was dedicated and named 'Jean Collie Kitchen' on 9 December 1990.
It was in July 1993 that two Samoan men were inducted as Elders while Emily's father, Matautia Hartson, was inducted in October that year. It was a great shock to family and the congregation when Emily's mother died suddenly in 1994.
1996 - 2000
The congregation continued to worship regularly until the Rev. Elama Maea announced in October 1998 that he had accepted a call to St. David's Parish, Petone, and the Rev. Nancy Jean Whitehead was appointed Interim Moderator. After the Rev. Tony Barrett had preached to the congregation, a call was issued and accepted. Tony was inducted by Presbytery on 20th January 2000 and convened his first Session meeting in February. At this stage plans were made to join in a nationwide preparation to host a simultaneous set of dinners to advertise the showing of Alpha videos making up the Alpha Course. In July 2000, Bill Konings, an Elder of this congregation was inducted as Moderator of the Waikato Presbytery after Rev Tony Barrett had concluded his second term in this role. It is part of the history of any Parish that we have lost over the years many of our good and faithful servants over the years. We give thanks to God for their devotion to Him, and for the contribution they have made to the life of the Parish in whatever capacity they have served. Some changes have taken place to better present the gospel to contemporary society.