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The Minniesdale Chapel.

A Brief Historical Record
1867-1947

by Rev G.R.Thompson

During, the first four years of the South Oruawharo district, as that part of the Albertland -settlement, now known as Wharehine, was then called, the Non-conformist pioneer settlers held religious services in each other's homes, which were either tents or nikau whares. In fine weather, however, outdoor services were held at Kauri Point. It was at the conclusion of one such gathering on a Sunday morning early in 1866 that a new settler by the name of E. S. Brookes who had recently arrived from Nottingham, introduced himself and made the surprising announcement that he had brought with him from England the framework of a church and also would be prepared to cover the full cost of building a chapel in which all would be free to worship. This wonderful news was received with much excitement and gratitude by the assembled company and the project was discussed with animated enthusiasm. From the pages of the old Minute Book, the pages of which are yellow and brittle with age, we read of the first public meeting to discuss the erection of the chapel, held on May 13, 1866. The following brief but significant statement, signed by the fifteen persons present, is indicative of the earnest desire of the settlers to establish a Christian community in the land of their adoption: "We whose names are appended hereto, do, by the grace and goodness of God, join ourselves together for the formation of a Christian community." At this meeting a section of land donated by Mr. G. H. Brookes was gratefully accepted; the proposed building was discussed; the contract was given to Mr. Geo. Wilcockson; and two church officials, namely, E. S. Brookes and W. Cutler, were elected.