History of St Silas Church, Redwood
In December 1919 a small band of Sisters of the Order of St Anne from Massachusetts, USA were brought to Styx to organise and manage a Home for Wayward Girls. The Sisters opened up their little private chapel to folks around the area and organised a Sunday School for the children. Thus, in 1919 the beginnings of St Silas emerged. The Sisters endured severe hardship, deprivation, poverty and illness during their three year stay. However in 1924 it was decided that a Mission Room should be built and Messrs Ellis & Fall were instructed to draw up the plans.
On 25 February 1925 in the presence of a congregation of 130 His Grace, Archbishop Julius, Primate of New Zealand, dedicated St Silas Mission for service to the Anglican community in the Styx area. The Mission Room was not consecrated originally as it was to serve both as a spiritual and social centre. The area of Styx was mixed rural and semi-urban and home were scattered over a large area.
The Mission Room was furnished through the generosity of many parishioners and the Vicar, the reverend WH Orbell presented the altar and chalice.
The St Silas Mission Room was attached to the Papanui Parish and managed by a Committee of Management elected annually by the St Silas parishioners from within their own congregation.
In 1946 the Mission was extended and a new Sunday School room was built. It would seem that after this date the Mission Room acquired the status of Church. In 1950 land was purchased for the proposed future expansion of the church and in 1956 the land adjoining Main North Road was also purchased. In 1959 the amalgamation of Belfast-Styx took place. Family services at St Silas were held in the Hall instead of the church from 1961 onwards. As from August 1969 the name “Styx” was changed to “Redwood” and St Silas followed the policy of other local organisations in changing to the new name.
In July 1983, plans were presented either to again extend the church and hall or to build a new church. After meting of the St Silas Building Committee the consensus of opinion was for a new church to be built and to be joined to the hall with everything under one roof. The architectural firm of Lucking, Vial and Bellerby was chosen and preliminary plans developed. In September 1988 the Parish of Belfast-Redwood approved and committed itself to the St Silas redevelopment. Work on the site started in early 1989. The Mission Church was sold for $5,000 for use as a house. On 23 April 1898 the final service of de-dedication and Thanksgiving was held in the old Mission Church. One week later it had been removed for its new use in Rolleston.
On 25 February 1990 the new church of St Silas was dedicated exactly 75 years after the original Mission Church by Bishop Maurice Goodall.