Sunday Best reviewed in Toi Motu magazine


Toi Motu InterIslands magazine featured a review of Peter Lineham’s Sunday Best: How the church shaped New Zealand and New Zealand shaped the church in their August issue. Anna Holmes writes:

Sunday Best is a history of the Christian Churches in New Zealand which discusses how the denominations shaped and were shaped by New Zealand culture. The book also considers the impact of Churches on one another. The detail in each chapter is impressive and covers social, architectural, religious and spiritual aspects of church life.

I was surprised by the sensitivity of the first missionaries to Māori connections to land and whānau. I particularly liked the chapter, on the “Gendered Church”, which shows both the limits placed on women in the Churches and the ways they challenged or defeated these.

The final chapter considers major reductions in religious attendance and belief, both in the early years and since the 1960s, when globalism and materialism impacted the openness of communities to spiritual importance. The shift to the idea that belonging to a Church was a personal choice was a big step. These effects continue with the influence of media.

Sunday Best is a good book for those looking for explanations of how the Churches developed in Aotearoa. It outlines the attempts at unification and the rigid differences between Churches that continue to be part of the journey.’