Following the devastation of earthquake damage in 2010-2011, AskRIGHT has assisted the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch in raising nearly $7 million to date from 10 parish capital campaigns, with more campaigns to come over the next eighteen months.

St Patrick’s, Lincoln, is one of the latest churches from the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch to be rebuilt in Canterbury, New Zealand, with fundraising support, guidance, and campaign implementation provided by AskRIGHT.

Jennifer Eagar of AskRIGHT has overseen the intensive portion of their parish capital campaign, which has seen volunteer parishioners reaching out to over 270 households. To date, the parish raised 74% of their $1 million fundraising target and are now on the final stretch. Work is now underway on the church rebuild, marked with a turning of the sod ceremony last month.

This is a new chapter in the life of St Patrick’s parish. Parishioners had to see their former church demolished after sustaining severe damage during the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes. Since then, parishioners have been sharing church space in local Anglican and multi-denominational churches as well as having Mass in their parish  centre.

Parish priest Fr. Job Thyikalamuriyil said it was “an absolute joy” seeing members of the construction team on site. “It is hard to believe the long wait is finally over. I feel very proud to be involved. I would like to acknowledge and thank our building planning committee members and the Diocese for all their hard work”.

The new church will be an impressive timber-clad building, seating 200 people. Parish council chairwoman Patricia Smith described how the fundraising campaign for the rebuild has been “a wonderful opportunity, not only to build a church, but to connect with our community,” as volunteers have been meeting with fellow parishioners throughout the parish asking them to consider supporting this important campaign.

To the amazement of the local community, the neighbouring parish of St Bernadette’s in Hornby has already raised 125% of its fundraising goal. Construction of their new church is due to be completed in September 2018. In Hornby, the local Samoan community played an important part in the fundraising campaign. The Samoan community spokesperson Jeff Magele commented that he was astonished at the success of the campaign, particularly because this specific type of fundraising, asking parishioners face-to-face for a specified gift amount, was a daunting and alien concept for him and others initially. Fundraising in the Samoan community is typically through many small events such as raffles and car washes. Jeff and the other volunteers appreciated the personal experience of meeting with parishioners.

The AskRIGHT team, based in Christchurch, is excited to be part of this rebuilding effort, which is helping Canterbury recover from such a devastating natural event.