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GERMAN PROTESTANT CHURCH.

LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE. The efforts of the German settlers in this province to erect a place of worship where service may be conducted in their own tongue and according to the tenets of the church of their native Fatherland, has deservedly excited a wide-spread sympathy, which has not been demonstrated in words alono. The appeal for monetary aid has been liberally responded to outside the German body, who, it must be said, however, showed such zeal, singleness of purpose, and financial earnestness in the work themselves, as could scarcely fail to secure hearty support. The movement may be said to owe its origin to the establishment of the German Benefit Association, which took place some twelve months ago. The primary object of the Association, it will be remembered, was to succour those of the German nationality in Bickness and distress, and this is so closely allied with religion, that it is but natural the furtherance of it by supplying the want so long felt for a national church should be one of the earliest fruits of the undertaking. It is true the project for erecting a place of worship was quite separate from the association which necessarily comprises men of more than one denomination, but there can bo no doubt that it originated from the Germans being brought into closer and more regular intercourse by the periodical meetings of the association, all the members of which it must also be said readily gave their monetary support to the matter. For the reasons stated the committee, entrusted with the general management of the scheme, was in every respect an independent body apart from the association, and comprised Messrs J. G. Ruddenklau, Lincoln road, (chairman), Gerken, Halsweli, Kruse, Papanui, Tisch, North road, and Thiele, Christchurch. These gentlemen worked hard and well, and have raised upwards of £550 by subscriptions, which the Provincial Government, in view of the German immigrants then expected, and since arrived, supplemented by a grant of £250. Having thus £800 to rely upon a quarter acre of land, in Worcester street — central, and in the most respectable portion of the city — was purchased, and Mr J. S. M. Jacobsen was instructed to prepare the necessary plans, a commission which he executed in a highly satisfactory 'manner. He designed a very handsome gothic edific — fully described in our issue of August — calculated to hold 230 persons and Mr John Greig's tender for the erection at £725 was subsequently accepted. This amount, with the cost of the land (£230),

and other expenses incidental, to the work will bring the total outlay up to about a £1000. A deficiency of £200 will thus exist, but it is confidently anticipated that this amount will soon be obtained, and, from the zeal so far displayed in not. only subscribing to the building, but in sending home money to bring out a clergyman for the church, there can be little doubt that the debt will soon bo removed. Certainly it is to be hoped that this may be the case, and in the meantime the Germans are to bo heartily congratulated upon what they have achieved in so short a time. The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the church had been appointed for yesterday, and a more fortunate selection could nofc possibly have been made. The weather was as bright and temperate as could be desired, and the absence of other attractions tended materially to promote tha success of the proceedings. Tln-ee o'clock in the afternnon was the time fixed for the ceremony to commence, and by that time quite 400 persons, including representatives of every denomination, and a largo number of ladies, had assembled. Amongst the clergy there were the Eight Rev the Piimate of Now Zealand, the Very Rev the Dean of Christchurch, the Von. the Archdeacon of Christchurch, the Rev 3. C. Bowen, C. Turrell, and — Watson ministers of the Church of England; the Rev. C. Eraser, Presbyterian ; W. J. Habens, Congregational; A. R. Eitehett, Wesleyan, and R. Morton, Baptist ; -whilst amongst the laity were his Honor the Judge, his Honor the Superintendent, T. M. Hassal, German Consul ; H. J. Tancred, Chancellor of the New Zealand University ; H. Sawtcll, Mayor ; Dr Haasb, P. Hamper, R. J. S. Harnmn, L. Harper, J. Anderson, T. Joynt, M.P.C. ; A. Duncan M.P.C. ; W. M. Maskell, M.P.C. ; R. Westenra, junr., M.P.C; W. P. Cowlishaw, Provincial Solicitor ; W. Montgomery, C. C. Bowen, R.M. ; several members of the City Council, and many of the leading commercial men in the city. The preparations made by the church building committee were of a very complete character, and contributed much to the smoothness with which the programme was carried out. A number of flags representing different nationalities with German banners in a conspicuous position, had been suspended across the front of the section, two tents had been erected for thoso taking a prominent part in the ceremony, and everything was in readiness for placing the stone — a large block from Thompson^ quarry, Heathcote valley — in position at the south-west corner of the building. At a few minutes past three o'clock the Superintendent, who was to lay tho stone, and the Rev. C. Bowen, who had kindly consented to conduct the service, were conducted to the stone by Mr Ruddcuklau, and the ceremony at once commenced. The German service, specially set aparb for occasions of the kind, was read in German by the Rev. C. Bowen, and tho hymns were led by a choir of Germans numbering 15 voices, an instrumental nccompaniment being played by t,he Cavalry band, under tho leadership of Herr Biinz. Books of the service, printed in German on one page, with the English translation on the opposito one, having been distributed amongst the spectators, all were enabled to take parfc in the service, which wo may say was done with a pleasing degree of heartiness. At the prescribed place in tho servico tho ceremony of laying the stone took place. His Honor the Superintendent said : I have to thank you and other gentlemen who have so zealously laboured to promote tho good work we are this day inaugurating, for the honour you have done mo in asking me to lay the foundation stone of tho church, which it is intended to erect on this spot. The occasion is one of great interest, and it is gratifying to notice that it is recognised as such by so many different Christian bodies who are largely represented among tho members now assembled. A body of colonists, comparatively small in number, but conspicuous for their industry, for their perseverance, and their high character, men who have displayed in a different sphere those qualities which have placed their own people among tho foremost of tho nations of Europe, [ are to-day in a distant land showing their belief that the work of colonisation comprises something beyond tho capacity for farming and storekeeping, for buying and soiling, and getting gain, their conviction " that man as a reasonable being cannot live by bread alone," and that no body of men can hope for happineßs in the pursuit of mere material progress, without providing through the elevating influences of education and religion for the cultivation of the intellect aud the purification of tho heart. Tho feelings which animate the promoters of this work are not now in the history of colonisation. They animated tho most succosful bodies of emigrants centuries before tho Christian era'; they inspired those heroic bands who led the way for the tens of thousands who now people the most prosperous States of America ;■ and, passing to the history of the colonies of this hemisphere, they were possessed in a prominent degree by those to whom we owe so much as the founders of this settlement. The present occasion, I say, is no ordinary one. New Zealand, as a whole, has raised anew a banner of colonization — thousands are invited to flock to its shores. Among the emblems on that banner are the fire and tho knife, but the altar is wanting to point to the path of duty and tho responsibilities of men to their Creator. Our German friends are showing that they feel this want, and are determined to Bupply it in their own case by individual effort, it may ho that religious differences have rendered difficult, if not impossible, the recognition by the state of particular creeds or forms of faith ; but I would gladly hope that the assistance rendered from public funds, and the aid which individual members of all Christian bodies have given towards the erection of this church, are an earuest of the time, however distant, when religion Bhall cease to be the battle ground of conflicting opinion, when Christianity shall rise superior to, and independent of, sectarian differences,

and when States stall no longer find it conTenient or necessary — while they claim their right of interference in matters affecting the relations of man to man — to confess their incompetence in respect of his higher relations to the common Father of the human race. However this may be, we may thank God that something of the old spirit of colonisation is possessed by our G-erman fellow-colo-niats,-that they are determined to pi'actise, in their own tongue, in which they were born, those forms of worship which will bind them by the holiest recollections to the land of their fathers, and unite them most closely as members of a Christian society in the land of their adoption. Before concluding, I may take this opportunity of expressing a hope i;hat those present will take occasion to show their interest in the undertaking by contributing liberally towards the building fund, for •which a collection is about to be made. Mr Ruddenklait, addressing his Honor the Superintendent, said your Honor, on behalf of the building committee I have to .present you with this silver trowel, and request that you will lay the foundation stone of this church which I hope may prove a •blessing to all connected with it. His Honoe said he had great pleasure in -complying, and trust that this stone may be the commencement of a building worthy of the great people of which you are one, and that success will attend upon all your countrymen's undertakings in this country. The mortar was then spread, and a bottle ■was placed in the cavity prepared for it, containing a Prussian dollar, a silver groschen, a Pfinnig, copies of the Ly Helton Times and Press, of November 6, and a parchment bearing the following particulars : — "Geeman Pbotestant CiiFßcn. "Established and built by the German colonists in the Province of Canterbury, NewZealand, by voluntary contributions contributed by themselves and their English fellowcolonists ; also by a liberal grant from the Provincial Government, for the object to have the Word of God preached in the German language. The foundation stone was laid by W. Rolleston, Esq., Superintendent, . -on the 6th November, 1872, under the reign -of Queen Yictoriaof Great Britain and Ireland, and the Emperor Wilhelm I. of Germany. " G. Bowrcy, " Governor of New Zealand. "John Jacobs en, Architect. " Geeig, Builder. ' " Principal Promoters and Trustees of the " Church : "J. G. RUDDENKLATT, " J. Gebken, "P. TISCH, "D. Kbttsk, "A. Thiele. During the .-arrangement of these details, the pinna were explained to his Honor by Mr ; Jacobsen, after which his Honor completed ; the spreading the mortar, and the stone was j lowered into its position. Having applied the level and square in the orthodox manner, his i Honor struck the stone with a small mallet of j polished native wood, handed to him by the j architect, and said, " I pronounce this stone , well and truly laid in the name of the Father, j the Son and the Holy Ghost." The remainder of the service was then gone through, and a collection was made, which ' realised the sum of £18. We should state j that during the proceedings Mr Martin, of j Oxford Terrace, took a photograph o£ the | -assemblage. . | In the evening a tea and soiree coumieinora- I •tive of laying the stono, took place in the New Oddfellows' Hall. The tea was laid at halfpast six o'clock, in a manner never surpassed in the province, liberality and taste characterising all the trays, which were supplied and presided over by Meadames Ruddenklau, Kruse, Schmidt, Tisch, Gerken, Carl, Fuehs, Hurtling, Kissel, Hansman, Thiele, Eochin, .and Ebort. There was also a bachelor's table, presided over by Mr Bourgeois. About six hundred persons partook of the tea, but at the soiree which commenced at eight o'clock, there must have been quite eight hundred present. The programme carried out was as follows : — Overture — Cheval deßronze.C.Y.C. Band. Song — Mr J. Anthony. DuettoClarionet and Pianoforte, Messrs Biinz and King. Song — " Das Alpenhorn," (Proch) Mrs Beechey. Duetto — "How sad it is to say farewell," Mrs Long and Mr Morgon. Selections — "H Barbiere de Seville," Band. Song — Mr Morgon. Duetto, Violin aud Pianoforte — Messrs Miiller and Biinz. Duetto — " Home to our Mountains," Mrs Long and Mr Morgon. Song — " When we went a Gleaning " (Ganz) Mrs Beechey. Band — Finale. During an interval in the programme, Mr • T. M. Hassal, German Consul, delivered an addresß. Mr Hassal said : Mr Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen, — I have been asked by the President of the Germans to say a few words this evening, and I have very much pleasure in complying with his request, for I consider it tho duty of every well-wisher to the cause of ■worship and religion to do his best, however little that may be, and not only to feel for himself, but also to endeavour to impress upon others the great importance of tho ceremony which has this day taken place. (Cheers.) TftTe met in tho earlier part of the day for the purpose of laying the foundation stone of the first German church in tho province of Ca: • terbury, and 1 think I may say the first in the colony of New Zealand. (Cheers.) It is therefore a day that will be ever remembered by all who were present, and it will doubtless bo one that your children's children will be taught to commemorate. (Cheers.) Nothing must have tended so much to bring back the thoughts of the elder portion of your congregation to the days of youth and fatherland as tho solemn performance of the sacred services of your own chm'ch, and in your own nativi language, and I feel assured nothing will tend more to preserve your nation olity or make you good and. prosperous colonists than a diligent attendance upor all the religious services which your churcl will afford. (Cheers.) Ladies and gentlemen

I believe that religion and true patriotism go hand in hand. (Hear, hear.) I believe that a strong religious as well as patriotic feeling pervaded the whole German army during the late great war ; that this feeling flowed clown from his Imperial Majesty the Emperor and King to the smallest drummer-boy in his Majesty's service — (cheers) — and stimulated one and all to undergo privation and suffering to an almost unheard of extent for the defence of their King and country. (Cheers.) I consider that the moderation shown by the German troops in the highest moments of victory, and which moderation was acknowledged and wondered at by all the nations of Europe, was the result of education and religion in Germany. There was also a very marked spirit of devout thankfulness shown by the army and its leaders for every victory gained, and it must only have added to this thankful spirit to have felt and known that the soldiers of the French Empire were your opponents ; the great Military Power of Europe was arrayed against you, and there can never be any doubt that although the citizen armies of Germany were completely victorious they met a noble and courageous foe, especially in the older and tried regiments of Prance. — (Loud cheers.) And now, ladies and gentlemen, to show you how attentive your countrymen were to the duties of their Church in the late campaign, and when far away from home, I will just read you a short paragraph from the London Daily News correspondent on the war, an authority said toba second to none ; and the book from which I quote has been translated into the German language, and is supposed to be one of the best histories of the war on record : — " By special request of the troops stationed here in Retoufay, there was divine service this morning in a meadow in tho vicinity of the village. The jdivision chaplain officiated, and the Brigadier-General was present with his staff. It was a line sight to see the four battalions, numbering as many thousand men, drawn up in a hollow square, with the clergyman and the regimental band in the centre. The service commenced with a hymn, in which all the troops joined with fervour. This was followed by the Liturgy, with full choral service. Then the minister preached a kind of informal sermon. He selected no Scripture text — his text was tho duty of a christiau soldier in war time. His words evidently came from the heart, and as evidently went to the heart. When he spoke of the friends at home longing for tidings from tho front, and half afraid to hear them, lest they should learn that the loved one had fallen in battle, many were the heads bent down on the manly chests, and many a gallant soldier held his hand before hi 3 eyes to hide the starling tear. It was remarkable what an effect the chaplain's words had in stimulating correspondence when the service was over. Round each feldwcbel there was quite a little crowd, eager to obtain the 'correspondence carte' on which the troops mostly write their brief epistles, and the Post-Corporal had enough to do to carry the great bag with which he went over to the field-post in Flauville. A little after the service, I was sitting with the paymaster and another officer, when a knock camo to the door, and there entered a great hulking fellow from Dantzie, who sheepishly asked the paymaster to accommodate him with paper money for his bullion. How much do you think he had ? Why, counting pfennigs and a queer collection of kreutzers, ho could mnke iip only just one thaler, and this huge remittance the great honest manly fellow wished to send to the frau away on the shore of the Baltic. It was only three shillings, but it was the last stiver the man had, and he will go without his glass of beer until next pay-day comes round. Fancy an English soldier coming to his officer with a handful of half-pence for conversion into paper money! But a German regiment is one great" brotherhood, and the paymaster pocketed the coppers and gave the man the paper thaler with a kindly word and look, for has he not a frau of 3iis own in Konigsberg, whose portrait lies against, that broad chest of his ? I will also read you another short extract upon tho conduct of a young German soldier to an aged French priest : — At present the inhabitants of the villages occupied by the Prussians live on the frank, but necessarily casual, charity of the Prussian soldiery. In this village the venerable pastor lies stricken with an incurable disease. In his houso are quartered several Prussian officers, and with one of these I paid a visit to the sick room on the night of our arrival. The dying old man, a gentleman and a scholar, showed us, witli a blush on his withered face, his empty purse. Food, physic, money, or medical comforts, he had none. They have quick sympathies, these gallant lads of the Prussian army ! Out came the purse, and tho thalers clinked as the pastor's empty purse grew heavier. Then there was a bolt for the regimental doctor, and in half-an-hour a bottle of physic was by the bed-head, and a cup of Liebig in the pastor's hand. The old man wept as he blessed the lad, and methought there wa3 water in the eves of the latter as he bent his head, Protestant as he is, to receive the blessings of a Catholic. Now, why should the Daily News correspondent almost express surprise at the young German bending his head to receive the blessings of tho aged French pastor ? Was il not because, having a knowledge of the world he was aware of the narrowness of our views upon mat ters of this nature ? Why should not tho young German soldier feel thankful tc receive the blessing of any aged Christian man bo he Catholic or Protestant? (Cheers) You arc aware I belong to tho Unitec Church of England and Ireland — a churcl very closely allied to your own — but 1 dan not presume or dictate to or find fault will any body of Christians who may be of i different -way of thinking. (Cheer 3.) I be lieve that a spirit of brotherly kindness aiic toleration to all will be inculcated by you worthy pastor when he arrives, and then a religion and education advance, Catholic am Protestant, Conformist and Non-Conformis will vie with each other in endeavouring to d "ood, and in feeling thankful to Almight

God for the many and great blessings which he has been pleased to shower down upon this our peaceful and happy New Zealand home. (Loud cheers.) Before sitting down, I" have to express to you the regret of his Honor the Superintendent that he was unable to be present with you this evening. I am sure you will agree with me that his Honor sympathises with you in the work you have entered upon, and that nothing but important business would have kept him away to-night. (Loud cheers). Mr J. Gerken also delivered a short address in the German language, after which the proceedings were terminated with the usual votes of thanks. It should be mentioned that a large proportion of the persons at the laying: of the stone in the afternoon were Germans, inan^ of whom had come long distances to be present. The deficiency of funds is stated in the opening paragraph to be about £200, but from this must, be taken the collection in the afternoon (£18), and the money received for 6CO tickets for tho tea (£3O). The deficiency will thus be about £150.

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Bibliographic details

GERMAN PROTESTANT CHURCH., Star, Issue 1466, 7 November 1872

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GERMAN PROTESTANT CHURCH. Star, Issue 1466, 7 November 1872

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