The story behind St Peter’s Memorial stain Glass Windows…

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These memorial windows were originally in the Ellerslie Presbyterian Church in Kalmia St, Ellerslie.  When we sold that church to the Tongan Methodist Congregation in the 1980s we took the windows to the new church in Harrison Rd. We replaced them with plain glass windows at the Kalmia St church, with the agreement of the Tongan congregation.

Window 1 shows the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, with a crown and sunlight above, indicating he was also King and blessed by God.  Under the window is the quote “The King of Love my Shepherd is” from Psalm 23.

The window was donated by Stewart McPherson in memory of his mother May McPherson, who was a long time member of the Ellerslie Church. The dedication plaque says “To the Glory of God and in remembrance of his most loving and trusted servant Marian (May) Duncan McPherson. Passed away 27 September 1962.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”

May was an accomplished singer and produced records of Sacred Songs. Her son Stewart McPherson is still active in the NZ music scene today and runs Stetson Group ( , which brings bands and productions to NZ, such as The Beach Boys, Spandau Ballet, The Irish Rovers, Jethro Tull and Culture Club.


Window 2 shows the Celtic cross of the Presbyterian Church.  Underneath is the symbol for the Presbyterian Church (originally from Scotland) depicting the burning bush of Moses.  The Latin phrase “Nec tamen consumebatur” on the symbol, translates as: “Yet it wasn’t consumed” or “Burning but still flourishing.”  This symbol has been updated and modernised and is still used in Presbyterian churches today.   The window is dedicated “To the Glory of God and in remembrance of James Ferguson who fell asleep August 22, 1922 aged 62 years. Also his daughter Ivy S. Waldron, called home February 27, 1940 aged 45 years.  They also serve who only stand and wait.”  Both these people were faithful members of the Ellerslie congregation.


Window 3 is in memory of Rev John Freeman who was minister at Ellerslie from 1956 to 1972. It was designed by Mary Broadbent – a parishioner – who is still very active in gardening and Presbyterian Harriers, although no longer attends church.  At the top of the window is an open book.  One of John’s greatest joys was working with his hands, especially doing bookbinding. (He trained in bookbinding in Timaru, before training for the Ministry.)  The open book also represents the Bible, which represents his life work as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church.

During WWII he served as a chaplain in the Army in the Middle East and in the Pacific, rising to the rank of Major. The Army Chaplain’s Badge is depicted in the window.  The Maltese Cross on the badge is a symbol of the Lord he served, and its motto comes from the vision seen by Emperor Constantine, that the Cross is our strength.  In the window, the badge rests among the hills and plains of John’s birthplace, Canterbury.

John loved animals, flowers, trees.  He would never forget to feed the birds each morning in the manse garden in Kalmia St.  (There are many who will remember their pomeranian dog, “Midge”)The tui and fantail are in the window, as are a dog, cat and rabbit. Flax flowers are also there.

John’s wife, Mavis was a very active and loved in the parish too, and took part in most of the events and groups in the parish.

Miles, Anne and I were children and teenagers during John’s ministry.

When John retired in 1972, he remained a loved member of the Ellerslie parish until his death in 1975. His obituary read “His ministry was marked by great humanity and wisdom.  He was both warmly spiritual and immensely practical in his pastoral work, earning the respect, affection and loyalty of his congregation.”

Window 4 This window is “In memory of past ministers of this church. It was donated by Mrs Emma Waldron. To the Glory of God” Mrs Waldron was a loyal and faithful member of the parish, and I recall visiting her with my Grandmother at her large house in Summerfield St, in Ellerslie, when I was a child.  She enjoyed painting, and my mother has one of her paintings which was passed down from my Grandmother.

Mrs Waldron also spent some time working in a mission in India.

The window has grapes and grain representing harvest and Holy Communion, and shows the green of plants and blue sky.

The sign at the top of the window shows the letters IHS.  This is from the Greek language and is a common sign in many churches to this day. (It is also on the Communion Table by the windows). IHS represents the first 3 letters of the name of Jesus, originally in Greek and then in Latin.


Anne Clarihew   October 2016

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