The pews shine with a honeyed lustre, worn smooth by generations of churchgoers; well-thumbed hymn books tucked neatly away.
St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Blenheim has a proud history and has played a key role in the lives of many Marlburians.
Now parishioners are set to celebrate its 50th birthday at its Henry St site and are looking for those with links to the church to help mark the special milestone.
Lay preacher Marion Rowe is proud of her connections with the church.
“I was married in this church, two of my children were baptised here and both my sisters married here.
“It has been a hub for celebrations, sharing both sad and happy times together and a place where friendships for life have been made,” she says.
While the church’s history dates back more than a century, fire, flood and the passing of time saw previous buildings disappear.
Marion says the support of the church has been a big part of her life, no matter where it has been situated.
“The church community have believed in me and that’s how I have a leadership role. They’ve all nurtured me and it’s the equivalent of my marae, my spiritual home”.
The celebrations will be held on 12 and 13 October by invitation to all friends, families and supporters of the church.
Celebration committee members Raewyn Buchanan and Kay Ayson have also forged strong connections to St Andrews.
Kay’s watched two daughters marry at the church and three of her children were baptized there and four of her grandchildren.
Raewyn’s godmother was a regular attendee.
“As a child, I always thought it was so dark but then when I came back, I thought how it wraps itself around you,” says Raewyn.
Festivities will include a tour of the church, high tea with entertainment, a dinner and presentation and worship followed by a shared lunch.
Co-organiser Kay says she is looking forward to the special day.
“The ministers were my friends and because I was a regular attendee, Sunday after Sunday, it was a big part of my life,” she says.
The trio hope to encourage younger people to take part in the occasion.
“It’s not just an older congregation. Young people can make memories like we did.
“I hope that the next generation will be sitting where we are in 40 or 50 years,” says Marion.
Anyone who has photographs they can contribute to the event can hand them in at the church office at Henry St.
Contact 03 5797119 and email [email protected]