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ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, ASHFIELD.
NEW PAROCHIAL HALL.
Despite unfavourable weather conditions, the Primate (Dr Saumurez- Smith) laid the memorial stone of St John's (C.E.) new parish hall, Ashfield on Saturday afternoon. A lengthy programme had been arranged for the occasion but it was subsequently found advisable to considerably shorten the ceremonies, The proceedings were initiated by ai religious service in the church, the Rev. Dr Corlette (incumbent) officiatmg and Mr Albert Fisher presiding at the organ. The service consisted of shortened evensong as far as the Third Collect and the Lesson, the musical portions being the "Magnificat" (Barrby) and' "Dena" (Hopkins).
The Primate, clergy, and congregation then pro- ceeded to the new hall, where the ceremony of laying the stone was performed. In addition to the Primate and the incumbent, there vvere present-Rev Samuell Fox (St James', Croydon), Messrs W Russell, E C V Broughton, A. Fisher, Cook, Allard, and
Dr Corlette read an address to the Primate, in which it was stated that 30 years ago a site had been provided for a church day school by the liberality of the late Mr L H Smythe of Ashfield Park. Upon it a building was erected which had served for a Sunday school. The stiucture was, however, never very convenient or suitable, and had long since proved too small. It had also fallen into disrepair, and it was considered that the cost of renovation would be out of proportion to the value of the building. It was also considered by the parishioners that as a Sunday school and parish hall the place was in no way creditable to the local Church of England community. After con- sideration by the churchwardens, it was resolved, at a large and vvarmlv enthusiastic meeting of parishioners, that a new building be erected. A committee was organised for the purpose of carrying the project into effect, and promises and donations to the amount of £300 were speedily received. This sum had since been augmented by a generous donation of £100, received lrom anonymous contributors. A design for a commodious structure had been furnished by the architect, and the building material was to be of the best quality. When completed, the hall would seat nearly 400 persons. The day they had selected for the laying of the stone was one of religious observance commemorating the presentation of our Lord at the temple in Jerusalem. ln con- clusion the parishioners vvere desirous of thanking
the Primate for his attendance.
The Primate said that it gave him great pleasure to be with them, and he much regretted that the weather had proved so unfavourable. The building he believed, was primarily intended for Sunday school and other purposes, and he complimented the parishioners on the progress they made from weak beginnings to stronger efforts. In these days there was much indifference to and neglect of religion, but he trusted it would be said of the children of that school what was said of Him whose human life was their example - that as He grew in years He grew in favour with
God and man.
The Apostles Creed and other portions of the church service were then repeated. The Primate laid the stone, and a collection in aid of the building fund waa taken up. Subsequently the Primate pro- nounced the Benediction and the proccedmgs con-
The new hall is situated on the Bland-street frontage of the church grounds, near the junction of Charlotte-street North. It is in the domesitic style of architecture, with a highly deco- rated front, and, when completed, will present a very imposing appearance. The dimensions of the main building are 60ft by 35ft, with two class-rooms 70ftt by 20ft. The materials used are brick with slate roofing, and the cost of the struc- ture will be £620. Mr E A Scott is the architect, and Mr M'Donald the contractor. The movement for the erection of the hall was started six months ago, the committee entrusled with the carrying out of the project being Messrs W Russell, Minter, Allworth, Cook, Allard, E C V. Broughton, and A J.Brierley.