One of the most interesting things about the letter I print below is that it names, I think for the first time, the Acting Dean of the Cathedral following the retirement of the Dean Peter Beck and for the period of searching for the new Dean: congratulations Lynda Patterson!
The following letter was sent out yesterday and has been written in response to some virulent criticism of the cathedral in the pages of the Christchurch Press, and also in comments online about the request of the cathedral to the City Council for an annual grant to assist with the running costs of the cathedral when it is in its new transitional structure (see a post or two below).
Recent articles in The Press appear to have caused some misunderstandings about the Transitional Cathedral.
No ratepayers’ money is being sought for building the Transitional Cathedral. The Diocese of Christchurch has approved $4 million from insurance monies. Final detailed costings are being undertaken at the moment, and the build budget will be strictly controlled. The Cathedral is not seeking and will not seek any funding from the Christchurch City Council [CCC] to pay for the building of the Transitional Cathedral.
For the ten year period up to 2011/2012, the Cathedral received CCC funding for two reasons: in acknowledgement of the civic functions, concerts and exhibitions that the Cathedral undertakes (e.g., ANZAC Day Citizen’s Service, Kidsfest, Christchurch Youth Orchestra, Antarctic Festival Service and many others) and for the use of the Cathedral land in the Square for civic events (like welcomes for visiting dignitaries and New Year’s Eve celebrations.) We did not apply for CCC funding in 2011/2012 because the Cathedral was too badly damaged to undertake civic functions and there was no public access to Cathedral land in the square.
We are seeking a CCC Metropolitan grant in 2012/2013 because we anticipate that the Transitional Cathedral will undertake some of the same civic functions as the Cathedral in the Square. In addition we hope it will stimulate tourism, encourage people to return to the central city, and support the rebuild of Christchurch as a whole. The CCC have, of course, every right to turn down the funding application, although we trust that they will judge it on its merits.
Council funding in the past has been on the basis of use of the Cathedral for civic events and public use of Cathedral land only. CCC have never asked for a role in the governance of the building–that remains vested in the Cathedral Chapter, the Standing Committee of the Diocese and CPT as the building’s owners, and it was their duty to make the decision about the future of the building after the CERA S38 notice.
A Transitional Cathedral will not postpone or slow down the building of a cathedral in the Square. It will offer a home, a place of worship and a house of prayer for the Cathedral Community for the next ten years. After this, the building will continue to serve as a home for the parish of St John’s, Latimer Square.
Many in the Diocese and beyond have been married or ordained or installed in the Cathedral. Others have worked for hours to create a floral carpet or have slipped in for a noon Eucharist or simply to pause in the midst of a busy day to remember God’s love and mercy. Every Christmas children would come to place a gift under the Christmas tree and whole classes would sing their song on the chancel steps. There have been concerts and memorial services; civic occasions and times of corporate sorrow and grief when hundreds have gone to the Cathedral for solace. It is with very heavy hearts that we make the decision about lowering the Cathedral walls for the sake of safety. We continue to pray for all who are broken hearted about this decision and look forward to a time when we are able to gather again in the heart of the city.
The Ven. Lynda Patterson,
Acting Dean of the Cathedral
The Rev’d Craig Dixon,
Marketing and Development Manager of the Cathedral
The Rt Rev’d Victoria Matthews,