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Titikaveka’s Betela Church on track

Friday 5 May 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Titikaveka’s Betela Church on track
Titikaveka CICC project manager - Ken Ben, musician - Ephraima Taokia, Keta Williams construction crew and AJ Plumbing and electrical staff work on the church’s renovations. MELINA ETCHES. 23050301

The new ceiling of the Titikaveka CICC church has been completed which will provide more comfort to its parishioners when its $250,000 renovation project is completed.

Project manager Ken Ben said previously when it rained it would be noisy and when it was hot it was very hot, but now with a proper ceiling it will be more comfortable.

Named Betela, (Bethel in English) meaning House of God, the building was started in 1835 on the land Areika where it stands and was opened in 1841.

The timber used in the interior of the church are from native trees, the massive posts standing inside are made from toa (ironwood) and are the original pillars from the 1830s build.

Remarkably, only one large post (front left) had to be replaced.

Ben said the original timber was treated down at the rugby field soaked in mud which has contributed to the durability of the posts.

“Our ancestors built this by hand and look at how solid the structure is all done by hand by man power.”

Amazed at the skills of the church contractors - Keta Williams crew led by foreman John Poila, Ben said they had managed to manoeuvre the post outside and replace it - all by hand with no machinery.

“It was amazing how it was done, and we never used huge machines inside the church it has all been done by hand.

“I thank God for their experience and training so I don’t pressure them and things are running well.”

The original technical structure of the building has been kept such as the Noah’s Ark inspired ceiling top designs.

“We’ve never had the intention of changing the original structural design of the church roof beams,” said Ben.

On Wednesday this week the contractors were bringing down the scaffolding and preparing to clean inside ready for the tiling next week.

AJ Plumbing and Electrical are rewiring the church laying new wires under the floor rather than above over the beams which were too high.

There is a new design for the lighting which will have an arc in the middle with three spotlights.

Outside there will be an extension shelter at the front and side entrance of the church.

Next week the painting of the limestone walls will start and if the weather is good the roof will be changed.

 “We are on target for our renovations and with the time frame that has been set everything is moving in the right direction,” Ben said.

Ben also noted that the Titikaveka’s CICC is the only church that does not have any allocated seats for VIPs, the length and the width of the church building are the same “and that’s why when we come into the house we are the same, no hierarchy etc - no rich no poor.”

The renovations of the church will be completed and officially reopened before the CICC Bicentennial 200 Year commemoration of the Arrival of the Gospel to Rarotonga in July.