The Howick Presbyterian Church has a long history dating back to 1843 when early settlers began to gather in private homes for worship. By 1873 they were able to erect a small building on the corner of Ridge Rd. and Vincent St. for formal worship. It was commonly known as the “Scots Church” in the early days.
Shortly after, the Reverend John Macky from Ireland was appointed to serve a wide southern area that included Howick. Based in Papatoetoe, commuting by horse, he devotedly served the Howick parish for 36 years.
In 1903 a second church building, nearer to the village area was erected (Uxbridge Church) but services continued at Vincent St, including a season where residential students at St Kentigern College were bussed from the College for Sunday night Chapel services which were often led by the College’s first Principal Rev Dr MacFarlan.
As time progressed maintaining two separate parishes became costly and, while the parish courts were considering how to improve on the situation, Howick Council approached Session with an offer to purchase the complex for a community centre. (now known as Uxbridge Centre).
Selling then enabled the parish to build a new and larger complex on spare land adjacent to the 1873 church. The new complex was built on the lines of a Community Centre and opened in 1981 thereby uniting the two parishes. On the day of dedication parishioners paraded from Uxbridge Road to Vincent Street carrying memorabilia from the Uxbridge church to the new complex known as St. Andrew’s Centre at Howick Presbyterian Church.
For several years the 1873 church was then used as a Youth Centre but by 1999, with extensions to the hall having been made to the 1981 building, the parish opted to restore and renovate the 1873 building as a Chapel for smaller services. The Chapel was then rededicated on 27th March 2004 and took on a new focus.
Communion services are held in the Chapel on the first Sunday of the month (excluding January) at 8.45am. The chapel is a popular venue for weddings and other family events such as infant dedications and small funeral or memorial services.
In 1991 the Auckland Taiwanese Presbyterian Church (ATPC) joined in using the church centre. A long and warm relationship has been maintained over the years with special highlights being combined services and music at Easter, World Communion Sunday and Christmas. Currently ATPC are in the process of building their own Church Centre with an anticipated opening date early in December 2017.
Currently the site is also home to an Opportunity shop, St. Andrew’s Chilton Kindergarten and a community vegetable garden. The buildings are also constantly in use by many community groups.
The hope is that this legacy can be built on and continue in growth.