Visitors to the Knox Centre today are greeted by a rainbow banner, comprising dozens of multi-coloured hands bearing signatures - the names of those who gathered to celebrate the congregation's 125th anniversary in June 2005. Each worshiper that day received a small cloth hand with his or her order of service, a tangible reminder of the fact that this congregation had its origins in a group of people reaching out with open hands and hearts into their growing community, initially in the form of providing a “Sabbath School” for the children of Christchurch North. First known as the “North Belt Church”, what became Knox Church was established on part of its present site under the Rev. David McKee from Dublin, Ireland. The first church building was designed by Samuel Farr and built of timber. Increasing attendances led in 1902 to the construction alongside the original church of a new building, designed in a distinctive Gothic Revival style by the architects Robert and Edward England.
Within, there are three distinctive features - the soaring timber archways, the imposing pipe organ and two adjoining beautiful stained glass windows set into the west end of the nave. This last feature depicts the blue-braided rivers of Canterbury flowing down from the mountains across the plains to the sea.
The original church buildings were later replaced in 1964 by a modern annex comprising a spacious hall, committee rooms, offices and associated facilities. Since 1880, the mission of the Church has been taken forward by a succession of 10 dedicated ministers supported by resourceful and dedicated congregations.
In keeping with Knox Church's commitment to being an open and welcoming presence in its wider community, a project to redevelop the Victoria St/Bealey Ave corner was embarked upon in 2005, to coincide with celebrations to mark the congregation's 125th year. The project removed a fence, several damaged trees and some signage, replacing them with benches for public seating, a water fountain for public use, new signage and a bilingual rainbow banner proclaiming the congregation's commitment to welcome all.
We now carry on the vision of the early founders of our Church with hope, love and confidence.