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Church of the Nativity

Last Modified: 29-6-2017 14:03

On November 17, 1857, the Reverent Dr Butt resigned from his position in Nelson to take the position of resident clergy for The Beaver (Blenheim)

Initial services were held in the courthouse and were shared with the local presbyterian minister, Reverend TD Nicholson.

The piles for the first church building were carted by bullock train from Picton Road to Tuamarina, then travelled by boat to the Boulder Bank, and up the Opawa River. The plans for the building were drawn up in October 1860 for a site set aside by Alfred Fell. The initial church was dedicated on December 22 1861. By 1874 the first parsonage had been built.

With a growing population a larger church became a necessity, and on February 21 1879 a second church was dedicated. This church retained a wooden structure, and continued to serve as the largest Anglican church in Blenheim, until it was rebuilt for a third time in its modern form in red brick in 1961.

During the period of 1879 to 1898 services were cancelled fifteen times due to flooding.

The current church comes under the umbrella of the Nelson Diocese, and is evangelical in style under the leadership of Vicar Bob Barnes, and an extensive team of ordained and lay staff.

Today, Nativity is an active participant in ecumenical activities with other Christian denominations in Marlborough, and also supports extensive community and missions activities, both at home in Marlborough, and further afield globally. Among other things, these include running a local recycling centre, and providing practical assistance to the church in the Solomon Islands.

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