Arrowtown - Church Today
St. Paul's has remained almost unchanged in over one hundred years. In 1973 a stained glass window was gifted by Mrs Sally Lusk as a memorial to her late husband. The window in a modern theme depicting the trees, hills and valleys of the area and the gold from which the town sprang, blends with, and complements the Victorian architecture of the building.
A further stained glass window was consecrated in 1992. It was gifted by members of the Romans family as a memorial to George Hemy and Maiy Elizabeth Romans who worshipped at St. Paul's for many years. George Romans when he died at the age of 102 was still serving as Church Warden.
The concept of the window centres around the annual renewal of creation from winter through spring and summer to autumn. The lines through the design from top to bottom symbolise the sun's rays which bring life to, nature and more importantly indicate God's light illuminating the creation. In 2012, St Paul's Church and the Cottage next door were designated as Category 1 buildings by the NZ Historic Places Trust. St Paul's is the oldest Church in continuous use in Arrowtown.
St. Paul's, which seats approx 90 and now well into its second century of service, continues to meet the needs of an expanding population. Now, as it has done over a long period, the church provides comfort, security and a community of interest based on Christian beliefs.
Arrowtown - Church History
In October 1862 prospectors fanning out from the goldfields of Clyde and Cromwell found rich deposits in the Arrow River. The first few parties on the field found gold in abundance. William Fox was their natural leader and when the secret was out, the town which sprang up on the banks of the river was first known as Fox's.
Fox's which later became Arrowtown was established by the merchants, traders, hotel keepers, bankers and others intent on cashing in on the great opportunities in providing the needs of the miners.
Amongst the miners came dedicated Anglicans who were no doubt inspired to form an Anglican community by the visit of Bishop Harper of Christchurch in March 1863. With the survey of the township an application for a church site was successful and in July 1869 the existing property was allocated to Elias De La Perrelle, blacksmith and Henry Hilmden, settler as Trustees for a Church. About the same time the first Vicar of Queenstown, the Rev Richard Coffey was appointed and the Arrowtown Anglican community undertook to provide $200 per year to meet stipend and other costs. Thus was formed the strong bond between the neighbouring communities which exist today.
In September 1871 the present St. Paul's Church was built and for the next ten years, the Vicar was present once a month with other services taken by Layreaders. St. Paul's for many years was the centre for services in some of the small remote settlements in the area. From the turn of the century, services were held in Macetown some eight miles up the Arrow River. Here, high in the remote hills existed a mining town which at its greatest consisted of two hundred people. Services in the local hall or a hotel were conducted by the Vicar occasionally, but much more often by a layman from Arrowtown. Services were also held in other surrounding areas including the Crown Range, Gibbston, and the lower Shotover. In September 1883 St. Paul's was consecrated by Bishop Neville of Dunedin.
At some early stage in the history of the Church, a small cottage was built on the section facing Anglesea Street. No doubt it was provided to accommodate the Vicar when absent overnight from Queenstown. It also served to house Selwyn College students and others who assisted the Vicar over the years. In recent times the cottage has been relocated beside the church to form a vestry and Sunday School.
For many years there was a strong desire to become a separate Parish and this was achieved in 1923. The first Vicar was the Rev J.N. Goodman and the Vicarage in Villiers Street was purchased. The Parish was short lived and in 1928 Arrowtown reverted to form part of the Wakatipu Parish. Since that date, Arrowtown has formed an important part of the parish but at the same time has retained its own identity and has continued to generate a closeness in the church families which can only be achieved in a small country area.