Tag Archives: Antarctica

What you need to get your church moving….

We have been for a Sunday Drive and seen many sights: daffodils; cherry blossom; dogs; a river; blue sky and “A What you need to get your church moving”. Which is this; a TITAN

A Titan for the Task

A Titan for the Task

which is yellow and sturdy and very tall…..

In January this year, I wrote a post about a little chapel called St Saviour’s. You can see the post Here. I told some of the history of the chapel and explained that  the chapel would soon be returned to its original home town, Lyttelton. Turns out that the ‘soon’ is now.

Although the Titan  was having a Sunday rest, it has obviously been busy. Here is how the Chapel looked when I saw it earlier in the year. It was boarded up and ready to go.

St Saviour's

St Saviour’s

Here is how it looked today

St Saviour's is Going

St Saviour’s is Going

Although St Saviour’s is obviously on the move, I can’t find any information on whether it is being moved via a land route or by barge. I did discover an article on some of the costs involved in the Chapel’s relocation and restoration http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/hills-and-harbour/8963217/Historic-St-Saviours-chapel-granted-143k  However it is travelling, I hope it will soon be  put together again because, right now, it looks very uncomfortable and undignified, and dishevelled. Not unlike we get when we are on a difficult and long journey, especially if we are no longer as young and spritely as we once were 🙂

© silkannthreades


Is it all clear, SOFIA?

This post is a little off topic from my previous post, but only a little. It still concerns the collection of data and the keeping of records.   These records are on an astronomical scale. And they are gathered and analysed by beautiful, sophisticated SOFIA and friends.

We went to visit SOFIA today because the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for visiting and gallivanting. Here she is. Isn’t she stunning?



SOFIA is stationed at Christchurch International Airport for a couple of weeks. She  is on a surveillance exercise. Of the skies. This is an excerpt from Nasa’s website on SOFIA.

‘NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory will be based in New Zealand for the next two weeks, taking advantage of the Southern Hemisphere’s orientation to study celestial objects that are difficult or impossible to see in the northern sky.

SOFIA, formally known as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, deployed to the United States Antarctic Program’s facilities at Christchurch International Airport last week and completed its first science flight at 4 a.m. local time July 18 (noon EDT July 17). A team of scientists, engineers, pilots and technicians from the United States and Germany are deployed with SOFIA to support as many as nine research flights through Aug. 1.

SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a telescope with an effective diameter of 100 inches (250 centimeters). It provides astronomers access to the visible, infrared and submillimeter spectrum.’ You can access the full text Here

Now I can’t say I understand all that technical stuff , but I can say that I enjoyed admiring  SOFIA and imagining what it would be like to fly so high in the sky with a telescope.

If you want to have a small experience,  flying with SOFIA, check out the SOFIA movie gallery  Here.

Apparently, the people who know these things, say we have very clear skies in our part of the world. Which makes our skies an excellent research area for SOFIA. Our skies are so good  that we are home to one of the best dark sky reserves in the world.  It’s too far from Christchurch for me to take you there, today, so this link will have to do. (http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7074544/Southern-skies-get-starlight-reserve-status)

I can, however, show you the luminous, light blue sky over us, and SOFIA, this afternoon.

Clear and Blue

Clear and Blue

It surprises me that the sky does look so fresh and pure because the air pollution levels  have exceeded  health guidelines levels  at least 11 times  in Christchurch this winter. Perhaps the blue of the  sky today is an optical illusion.

Writing of smog and lenses and illusion reminds me that some wits in the media have been questioning the timing of the SOFIA project in Christchurch. It coincides very neatly with the Government’s attempts to expand the  Government Communications Security Bureau ‘s  legal powers to spy on us, its own New Zealand citizens. At the moment the GCSB  may spy on  non New Zealanders.  The amendment under debate will legalise the GCSB’s spying on New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

I am 99% sure SOFIA is an innocent star-gazer but that is a mighty big telescope scoping our southern skies.  However, as long as she  is gazing upwards and outwards, little ol’ me  and the rest of my fellow Kiwis,  can rest easy, at least as far as SOFIA is concerned 🙂

© silkannthreades

A great little gift

The other day, when I was visiting my Tulip Tree ( Me, the Tree, and Helen)  at the former site of Helen Connon Hall, I decided it would also be a suitable hour  to say goodbye to the adjacent St Saviour’s Chapel, where we held our church service during the Reunion weekend in October 2000. St Saviour’s Chapel is about to  embark on  yet another voyage, and must be the most travelled chapel I have ever met.

St Saviours Chapel was originally built for, and located in, the West Lyttelton Parish of  Lyttelton. Lyttelton is home to our main sea port and, from Christchurch, it  is reached by travelling over  the Port Hills or through the tunnel. St Saviour’s was consecrated on 22 October 1885. For many years it was a chapel for seafarers and local parishioners alike. Amongst the seafarers to worship in the Chapel were Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the crews of the Discovery and Terra Nova.

In 1975, the Lyttelton parishioners gave the Chapel  to the Christchurch Diocese  and it was then given to The Cathedral Grammar School for use as its school chapel.  To reach its new abode, the Chapel had to be  dismantled and moved in sections over Evans Pass to Christchurch, and then reassembled. It was blessed on its current site on the corner of Park Terrace and Chester Street in July 1976 .

In 1980, a piece of the Chapel made another, much longer, journey. Acknowledging the Chapel’s connection with Captain Scott and  Antarctica, the original altar was given to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research  and  later placed in the Chapel of the Snows in Antarctica.

Now the little Chapel is too small for the needs of The Cathedral Grammar School, so it  has been given to the parishioners of Holy Trinity Lyttelton, who lost their own church to the recent earthquakes. Soon, the Chapel will  return close to its original home. Quite how it is to travel is still undecided, as far as I know.  It may go the way it came or possibly, and very appropriately for a seafarers’ chapel, it may travel by barge on its first sea voyage ever. What a great little traveller and adventurer.

Here is  St Saviour’s Chapel being readied for her voyage. St Saviour's Chapel Waiting


Stowed away but not yet shipshapeStowage

The CaptainThe Captain

The BellThe BellLook  out

Reflections on the  port of callReflection

See East Wave farewell to the childrenFarewell to the Children

Need a Chapel?  Need a Gift? St Saviour’s to the RescueSaviour to the Rescue

If you would like more detailed information on the amazing life journey of this great little Chapel please refer to the following links:

http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=1929 http://anglicantaonga.org.nz/News/TIKANGA-PAKEHA/Chapel-returning-home-to-Lyttelton

© silkannthreades