Parish formation discussed, 1879

MASTERTON.—A meeting was held in St. Matthew’s schoolroom on the evening of the 13th May to take into consideration the desirability of constitution the district a parish.

The Rev. Mr. Teakle, after opening the meeting with prayer, stated the object of the meeting, and said the question was distinctly a lay one. A parochial district was essentially a missionary district, to be subsequently constituted a parish as soon as it was ready for the change. In a parochial district there was no law to guide the clergy and laity. [This is possibly Mr Teakle's interpretation.] There were, however, certain recommendations of the Synod for their guidance, which they had adopted. Under them committees had been appointed at Masterton, Bideford, and Tenui.

At first he objected to the district being constituted a parish, on the ground of it being too large for him to be responsible for it. He also objected to certain clauses in the Parish Act, and had stated that if a parish were proclaimed he would leave at once. Subsequently his objection to the Parish Act had been removed, and it had been shown to him that he had misinterpreted it.

A parochial district being without regulations, ought to be organised by an experienced man, not by one fresh from college. He had himself been thought by some to have been too autocratic because he had had to lay down a policy for himself and carry it out.

He suggested that if a parish were constituted, Masterton, Opaki, and the Lower Taueru should be within the boundaries, and that Tenui and the Whareama should be left to form another parish.

He then detailed the steps by which a parish could be obtained, a churchwarden and vestry elected, and nominators appointed to nominate an incumbent for the parish. The Bishop, when a nomination had to be made, would require to be assured that proper provision would be made for the clergyman.

He thought himself the time had come when the laity should take the management of church matters more into their own hands, and it was for that reason he had convened the present meeting.

Mr J.V. Smith asked the chairman for some information as to the present state of the finances of the church.

The Chairman was hardly prepared for the question, but he might say the offertories for the present year showed an increase, and the subscriptions promised were greater than with the subscriptions and pew rents of the previous year. He also thought ₤100 a year could be raised in the Tenui-Whareama district, and ₤25 in the Taueru, and that the Bishop would probably be able to obtain a grant of ₤50 a year, so that a second clergyman might be established in that part of the present parochial district. There was a debt of ₤200 on the Masterton Church, and ₤150 on the Parsonage. Mr Gossett and himself had raised in England a sum of ₤64, which might be appropriated to liquidating the debt.

Mr J.V. Smith asked if the interest was being paid on the debentures.

The Chairman replied in the affirmative.

Mr J.V. Smith moved,

“That in the opinion of this meeting, the district around Masterton should be constituted a Parish, and that application be made through the Bishop to the Synod with that object.—Mr Payton seconded the resolution.—Mr Bragge thought the meeting was unanimously in favor of the resolution, and that it should be at once put to the meeting.—The resolution was then put and carried unanimously. [1]


[1] Wairarapa Daily, republished in The Church Chronicle, Wellington, 2nd June 1879, page 257