Majestic Church opens multimillion-dollar complex in central Christchurch

The new church complex includes a sport and recreation area, a commercial kitchen, a coffee machine, a large church auditorium and sound and video editing studios.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

The new church complex includes a sport and recreation area, a commercial kitchen, a coffee machine, a large church auditorium and sound and video editing studios.

A state-of-the-art church and community hub has reopened in central Christchurch following a 9-year hiatus.

The Majestic Church, which sits on a 10,500 square metre site that cost about $18.9 million to purchase and develop, opened its doors on the corner of Durham St South and Wilmer St in central Christchurch on July 3.

The new church complex includes a sport and recreation area, a commercial kitchen, a coffee machine, a large church auditorium, and sound and video editing studios.

The church also owns a 2000sqm warehouse area behind the complex which is expected to be leased to businesses.

Majestic senior minister Leo Hanssen said the complex was built with its modern design in order to stop it from looking like “an old church”.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

Majestic senior minister Leo Hanssen said the complex was built with its modern design in order to stop it from looking like “an old church”.

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Majestic senior minister Leo Hanssen said the complex was built with its modern design in order to stop it from looking like “an old church”.

“We didn’t want it to look like a church [and we] didn’t want it to feel like an old church. We wanted it to be a place and a space that the community can come into and be a part of no matter who you are.”

He said it was important some of the original Mace Engineering building, which the church replaced, was incorporated into the new complex to preserve the building’s history.

The new Majestic Church, which cost about $18.9 million, reopened in central Christchurch on July 3.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

The new Majestic Church, which cost about $18.9 million, reopened in central Christchurch on July 3.

“We’re quite proud of the fact that we have repurposed some buildings that could’ve been pulled down and … we love the look of the old and new together. To us, it speaks to humanity that nobody’s perfect,” he said.

Mementos such as old church pews, carpet and candlesticks from other Canterbury churches lost in the quakes can be found scattered throughout the complex.

Mementos such as old church pews, carpet and candlesticks from other Canterbury churches lost in the quakes can be found scattered throughout the complex.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

Mementos such as old church pews, carpet and candlesticks from other Canterbury churches lost in the quakes can be found scattered throughout the complex.

“We wanted Canterbury church history as well, we purchased bits and pieces mainly from Anglican churches … and just made those little icons that actually say something about our history, so we don’t just forget our past but as we move into the future that we carry some of that with us.

“We’re feeling that we’re leaving a great legacy for future generations and that we’re able to do something significant that’s going to be good for the city.”

The Majestic Church was originally in the heritage art deco building Majestic House on Manchester St, which was completed in 1930 and was a cinema until 1970 before being turned into a nightclub and then a base for the church in 1978.

It remained at the premise until it was badly damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes and was later demolished in 2014.

The church then bought a site in Cranmer Court with the hope of developing it but its plan was turned down by the Christchurch City Council because the development did not fit within the Living 4C zoning that applied to the site.

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