What happened at Porirua

The Revd Kath MacLean, full-time chaplain at the Mental Health Unit reports:

1 August (Wednesday)

Porirua’s Head of Security sent Kath (returning from a clergy conference in the Wairarapa) an urgent message to the effect that both she and the part-time assistant chaplain must move out from the chapel without delay as soon as she arrived back.

Later – in his office, he spelt out that everything in the chapel (and associated small complex of office, meeting room, kitchen and toilet block) was considered such a risk it must be evacuated immediately. It was difficult for everyone, no storage provision had been made for equipment and furniture, but he offered to help load up the car.

Even later – the Manager of Mental Health confirmed that the instruction had come from the Chief Operating Officer in Wellington Hospital, the result of an engineer’s assessment of the state of the building. She was able to offer temporary storage, but even more importantly, offered the Vaka Pacifica facility for the Sunday Service.

2 August (Thursday)

An all-day previous commitment prevented anything happening.

3 August (Friday)

Kath and Noel packed up their offices and, with the help of orderlies, moved as much as they could, leaving late that afternoon and setting the alarm.

Meanwhile, rumors about what was happing to the chapel rushed through the immediate community; not surprisingly, it was broken into.

Some days later

Because the chapel had been relocated onto this site relatively recently, and because the major part of the structure was wooden, an independent engineer’s report was called for (probably to cost about $1,800).

The chaplains continued their normal duties as best they could, responding to calls and comforting disturbed people.

19 August (Sunday)

After the chapel service, the volunteer pianist who had heard about the situation, took the problem to her parish church, where the cost dilemma was discussed.

22 August (Wednesday)

The parish presented Kath with a cheque for $1,800.

Watch this space!