SHARE

St Enoch’s Church has stood the test of time and thanks to work taking place this month, will continue to do so.

Built in 1877, the 145-year-old stone building is undergoing earthquake strengthening.

Alexandra-Clyde-Lauder Union Parish minister the Rev Andrew Howley said a building assessment in 2016 identified the church had a low rating compared with new building standards.

‘‘We didn’t have to close the doors instantly, but we weren’t happy to live with that and knowing the way construction prices were continuing to increase we wanted to start towards making it a building that’s going to be around for a long time to come,’’ Mr Howley said.

Seismic fittings are being installed this month to strengthen the gable ends, tying the gables together in north› south and east›west directions.

A new fire alarm system, emergency lighting and illuminated signage for the egress is also being installed.

The work will cost about $120,000 and is being funded through grants from the Central Lakes Trust, Otago Community Trust, Presbyterian Synod of Otago and Southland and church parishioners.

When St Enoch’s was built, the Presbyterian Church was one of the strongest denominations in the area — at one time boasting about 2000 members — but later merged with the Methodist Church to form the Union parish, whose boundaries encompassed the Manuherikia, Ida Valley and Earnscleugh.

Today it covers just Alexandra and Clyde.

Mr Howley said St Enoch’s was an important landmark in the history of Alexandra, and also people’s lives.

‘‘This is a place where people baptise their children, this is a place where people commit to their faith, this is a place that people are married — I myself was married here,’’ he said.

‘‘This is a place where we also bury our loved ones, so whether we are people of faith or not it’s a place that a lot of people have connections with and strong emotional ties to.

‘‘It’s a place that we’d like to see here forever as a testament to those that have gone before, but also those still with a faith in our world.’’