First permanent baptismal font for Whitianga church

08 Jun 2021

Last Saturday, 5 June, marked a hugely significant day for the St Peter the Fisherman Anglican Church in Whitianga with the consecration and blessing of their new baptismal font by the Right Reverend Ross Bay, Bishop of Auckland. 

The font was designed and created by local carver, Bob Walters. It’s the first time the congregation has a permanent baptismal font in 60 years of worship.

“The two most important elements in a church are typically the altar and the font. St Peter’s has never had a permanent font and when we recently decided to get one, we believed we should commission one that was not only unique to us, but reflected this church in this location - namely St Peter the Fisherman in Mercury Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula,” says the Reverend Dr Gillian Reid, priest in charge of the congregation.

Gillian met with Bob and saw some samples of the beautiful work he has done over many years of craftsmanship. “He was very keen to be involved and we agreed he would source a piece of local Coromandel kauri and come up with a design that reflected our Peter the Fisherman identity, as well as the font being a symbol of new birth. We also had input from Joe Davis of Ngati Hei. Bob is gifting the font to us which is quite amazing.”

The top of the font is carved with a relief pattern of fish along with symbols of the four points of the compass and the Maori symbols of movement. The pedestal has the relief carving of a koru, the symbol of new birth and growth - relevant for baptism. The crystal bowl which sits on the top and will hold the water was gifted by a member of the church.

Pictured: Rev Ross Bay (on the left), Bob Walters and Rev Gillian Reid at the font on Saturday.