News Release

Man Charged in Relation to Fires that Damaged Two New Zealand Church Buildings

A man appeared in court in Christchurch New Zealand on Wednesday 3 April, charged with setting fires that damaged two buildings owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The first building is a religious education building in Christchurch that has been used for two decades by young people to socialise and to study scripture together. Assessment is ongoing as to repair plans.

The second building is a meetinghouse where members and friends of the Church in Greymouth worship. Damage from the fire was extensive and the building will need to be demolished.


Options for replacement of the Greymouth meetinghouse are currently being considered.

“We are obviously very sad that this has happened,” said Lyle Kitchin, the lay leader in the Church’s Greymouth Branch. “It was like a second home to us.”

“But we are moving forward, forgiving, and focusing on looking after each other and getting on with things.”

For more information about the fires, click here and here. And for more about yesterday’s court proceedings, click here.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.