Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School

Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School

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Ōtāhuhu Methodist Memorial Sunday School.

In July 1918 a returned WWI soldier, Corporal T. Stringer, presented the Ōtāhuhu Methodist Church with a roll of honour listing the old boys of the Ōtāhuhu Gymnasium Club who had given their services to the country during the war. This was unveiled in the church’s old Sunday schoolroom on 23 July 1919.

On 28 February 1920, the Reverend E. Drake, newly elected President of the Methodist Conference, laid the foundation stone of the new Memorial Sunday School building in Fairburn Road. Four other stones were subsequently laid by mothers of the congregation to commemorate their sons and other former parishioners who had given their lives during the First World War. The substantial concrete and brick building was formally opened on 4 December 1920.

The foundation stone, inset into the footing of the building’s southern wall, read as follows: “Otahuhu Methodist Memorial / Sunday School / - / This stone was laid / to the glory of God / by Revd. E. Drake, President of Conf. / on Feb. 28th 1920 / - / Feed my lambs”. The other four stones, set at a higher level, were laid by Mrs Agnes Mary Muir in memory of John D. Muir (d. France, 4 July 1916) and Robert C. Graham (Gallipoli, 1 May 1915); Mrs Anna J. Whiteley in memory of Burton W. Whiteley (France, 11 October 1918) and J. Dinsdale (Belgium, 4 October 1917); Mrs Sarah Fothergill in memory of Frederick James Fothergill (France, 27 March 1918) and Harold Olds (France, 12 October 1917); and Mrs Mary Irvine in memory of Joseph Sinclair Irvine (France, 28 March 1918).

The Methodist Sunday School roll of honour, which was installed inside the building, listed a further 27 names, including that of one nurse (E. White). The memorial associations of the building were further acknowledged in April 1922―when the Reverend C.H. Laws, the new President of the Methodist Conference, dedicated a stained glass window on the eastern side of the building, the official party included Captain A.C.A. Sexton representing the Returned Soldiers’ Association.

Sources: ‘Otahuhu’, Pukekohe & Waiuku Times, 19/7/1918, p. 3; 'Methodist Annual Conference', Auckland Star, 26/2/1920, p. 7; 'Religious World', Auckland Star, 6/3/1920, p. 18; 'Religious World', Auckland Star, 15/1/1921, p. 14; ‘Local and General News’, NZ Herald, 6/4/1922, p. 6; The Methodist Church of N.Z., Otahuhu Circuit Centennial, 1854-1954, Otahuhu, 1954, p. 4.

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