Christchurch City Corps Celebrates 140 Years
Salvationists past and present came together recently to mark 140 years of the Christchurch City Corps (church).
Up to 170 people took part in celebrations on Sunday 21 May, which included a morning service, afternoon concert featuring the corps brass band and songsters, and a dinner.
Corps Officer Lieutenant Scott Noakes says a number of former band members attended, with some re-joining the band for the concert.
‘The display of musical talent was impressive,’ says Scott, who notes that music continues to be a very important feature of the corps just as it was in the early days.
Scott says the celebration was an excellent opportunity to both honour the development of the corps and its people over the decades as well as to look ahead to the future.
The first Salvation Army foray into Christchurch was in April 1883, when Captain George Pollard—the officer in command of the then New Zealand Division—stopped in Christchurch en route to Wellington. Captain Pollard held an open-air mission, including a procession, followed by a special service at the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Knightstown, which became part of St Albans.
The following month, Sunday 20 May, reinforced with Captains Harry Edwards and Edward Wright, operations got under way in Christchurch at the Gaiety Theatre on a three-year lease. In his book Fight the Good Fight, author Cyril Bradwell notes that the meetings drew huge crowds: ‘The zeal and “homely eloquence” of the officers made its appeal and by the end of June the Christchurch City Corps boasted a soldiers’ roll of over two hundred, with a brass band to head its open-air marches.’
The current corps building was opened by then-territorial leaders Commissioners Andy and Yvonne Westrupp on Sunday 29 April 2017, replacing the previous building destroyed in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Lieutenants Scott and Aimee Noakes were appointed to Christchurch City Corps in January, having previously served at Cambridge Corps.