Our Past | Where Cityside Has Come From
Early in 1864, a Mr Theophilus B Heath of the Wellesley Street Baptist Church commenced a Sunday School at his father's house in Exmouth Street. The school grew so rapidly that Mr Heath and Mr G Fitness approached the members of the Wellesley Street Church and showed them the need for Sunday School work in Mt Eden. A committee was formed to investigate the matter and was given the power to act with the result that a section was purchased in Mt Eden Road (Lot 19 - opposite the Grafton Library, now Gailbraith's Ale House). This cost eighty two pounds, ten shillings, and a Sunday School Hall was erected on it by Mr G Fitness for one hundred & thirteen pounds eight shillings and seven pence.
In the "New Zealand Herald" dated April 29th 1865 there appeared an article concerning the opening of the Mt Eden Sabbath School. Mr Cornford, Pastor of the Wellesley Street Baptist Church, presided at this meeting. The building was also used for a Sunday evening service, a Monday evening Prayer Meeting and a Thursday evening service.
Very soon this 20 foot x 30 foot Hall became inadequate for the work, and in March 1880 an appeal was made to the Wellesley Street Church for increased accommodation. Again the Church rose to the occasion, and the old section and building were sold for one hundred and eighty pounds and a new building erected on the present site for five hundred and fifty one pounds ten shillings (with section). The opening services were conducted on October 31st, 1880.
Early in 1885 the Wellesley Street Church moved to the present Tabernacle site in Queen Street, and it was felt that the time was right to form an independent church in Mt Eden, and so the Mt Eden Baptist Church was established on September 23rd 1885. The first minister was called in 1886.
In 1906 the Auckland City Council widened Mt Eden Road and this necessitated the shifting of the old building. This opportunity was used to erect the present building for one thousand six hundred pounds. The Church continued to grow until it became recognised as one of Auckland's larger churches, but then the fingers of industrialisation began to push away the congregation. Ministry became increasingly difficult as people moved out to the suburbs and on 1st June 1960 the members offered the use of the property to the Auckland Baptist Association to establish a City Mission.
A board was set up, and the Auckland Baptist City Mission was established on 28th September 1960. Rev B K Macready was invited to become the first Missioner, and arrived from Australia in February 1961.
In August 1983 work was begun on extending the Mission buildings. The new Mission Centre was opened on 8 April, 1984.
Mark Pierson came as Pastor/Missioner in February 1993. Later that year a name change to 'Cityside Baptist Church and City Mission' acknowledged that social service ministries needed to be based in a worshipping congregation.
In June 1995 Mark resigned as Missioner and began working fulltime as pastor to Cityside congregation. A meeting of that congregation on Sunday 29 October 1995 agreed to separate itself structurally from the Baptist City Mission and constitute as a church within the Baptist Family of Churches in NZ. Two weeks later this was formerly recognised at the Baptist Assembly in Christchurch.