During Reverend Still’s time, he was assisted by William Lush, the son of the Rev Vicesimus Lush from Auckland. William Lush has left a rare record of his experiences of being a clergyman at St Paul’s. In January 1887 he wrote to his sister Blanche about his experiences during one week at the church:
‘Thinking that I was not doing much or working to my best for my parishioners, this week I have been convinced that I can sometimes do a great deal’.
He described his travels around the parish that week:
Well today I started in broiling sun at 2.15 for Wadestown finding my presence there useless as my dying patient was still unconscious or sleeping – I struck down a terrible path to the railway & walked along it to Crofton, there I sat & chatted with a boy with a broken leg & got into very good terms with the whole family, but I stayed there chatting too long for I had to see some other people so I visited a house or two (missed my train) walked down a hill through Kaiwarra (on the harbour) & up home about 7 or 8 miles altogether.
Yesterday morning I was at Wadestown & Thursday – that day I had just done a round of visiting & returning to tea was caught by a boy to go up – his mother said to be dying – she has gone on till now and shows the briefest signs of consciousness – I had been up Wednesday to the School Feast & tried to play rounders with the boys & Mr Still on a “saddleback” – went rolling down the hill with sundry bruises in a frantic effort to catch a ball.
I am a bit tired of the walk up that hill, but expect I have to go again, perhaps tomorrow. I try to go a long walk every Saturday for exercise & find the most pleasant end to it is to have a good bath as soon as cool enough it takes off all tired feeling & freshens one up & one must be fresh against Sunday.
He also described the arrival of the new cross and candelsticks, sent from England by Sarah Selwyn, by then widow of Bishop Selwyn, and Bishop Abraham, twenty years after they had both returned to England. He writes:
The Cross & Candlesticks have come, don’t publish it too freely, – as they have not got the Vestry’s sanction yet. The candlesticks are most beautiful. I like them very much they are designed by Bp Abraham from pillars in the Chapter House at Lichfield an identical pair adorn the Lady Chapel altar there.
They are very massive & large too big I fear for our Altar which is only 6 instead of 12 feet long as it shd. be for such candlesticks. The Cross is very ordinary brass Cross but good; though nothing to the Candlesticks. I fear we shall not light them at Celebrations for a long time but evensong we may.
His note of the fact that they had not received official sanction from the vestry, and his suggestion that they might not be used in the church except during Evensong for some time was in reference to the possible concerns from the vestry of their ‘high church’ nature, something resisted by many church members throughout the life of the church. The candesticks and cross still reside at OSP. Lush has interesting observations about the religious opinions of his parishioners, and the impact that that was having on him:
I never shall I fear really like this work because I feel so terribly gagged. I can’t teach the whole truth because they are not able to bear it, I feel this increasingly & it is this which galls me – but we progress & shall get up to daylight in time I hope.
Finally, he ended with some perhaps less than charitable observations on some of his parshioners:
Yesterday I had to do all at St Pauls morning service, I much prefer reading the lessons myself to a layman [reading them], Major Jervois reads properly but Kenneth Wilson is very pompous & thereby makes nonsense of the verses with wrong emphasis &c.
The Choir & SS [Sunday School] teachers are all on holidays [it was early January] & we are about driven distracted with the effect on the singing & the noise of the children &c.
Image: William Lush as a young man, from Heritage New Zealand’s collection at Ewelme Cottage