Imagine my lack of surprise to open up this morning's Press to the headline, Damage to cathedral worse than first feared. Bit by bit since 22nd February the little I have been told about the cathedral has been of damage to all its major parts, and, crucially, to its stone pillars. I am very glad that this news is headlined today and the concerned citizens of Canterbury and members of the Diocese and all churches can engage with the questions which are now inevitable.* Do we want to rebuild it 'as it was' (albeit with new engineering to make it safe)? What to do if we want to rebuild it as it was but the engineers tell us something important will have to be different such as the tower not being as high, or the rebuilt walls being lower? Are funds from insurance and donations going to be enough to rebuild? What would it mean to go cap in hand to ratepayers and taxpayers for assistance (more letters in the paper today about public money meaning a multi-faith governance of the building)?
Or, big question, do we build a new building, according to funds available, with an eye on the needs of God's church for mission in the 21st century? Should we build such a building, even if a rebuild is possible?
O God, our help in ages past, guide us into the new age!
*Later clarification: informally we can now all talk about the cathedral as a badly damaged building for which no simple, speedy fix is going to take place. For formal processes of discussion about the future of the cathedral - to rebuild or to build a new cathedral - I presume we would need to wait for officially received engineering report(s) and insurance assessment(s).