Reflecting overnight on the just announced plan for our inner city here in Christchurch, I am wondering what is good news and what is challenging news for our cathedrals (permanent Anglican, transitional Anglican, Roman Catholic). Also a thought about some of our other inner city churches.
This is how it seems to me:
GOOD NEWS: Cathedral Square remains the geographical heart of our inner city. That is good for our permanent cathedral site. It will be worth investing in the new cathedral. Lots of life around convention centre, performing arts auditoriums, hotels, and such will be surrounding the Square. Excellent missional potential.
POSSIBLY GOOD NEWS: The location of the transitional cathedral alongside a lovely new 'green space' and next door to the new covered stadium is possibly good news. 'Possibly' because we have no idea how long it will take us to build the new cathedral in the Square or the new sports stadium. The transitional cathedral could be a bit isolated where it is. It could be overshadowed by a massive building project taking place over its back fence. It could contribute a significant witness to the sporting public of Christchurch. It could ... We shall have to see. Definitely possibilities for good things to come, but some new challenges now exist.
CHALLENGING NEWS: For the site of the Roman Catholic cathedral it has always been a bit of a challenge that it has not been nearer the heart of the inner city. On this new plan, the current site is even further removed from the inner inner city. I expect some careful consideration will be given by the Catholic diocese to finding a different site for their cathedral.
Our other city churches:
I wonder if this is going to make life better or worse for St Michael's (our only operating inner city church)? It is a bit hard to tell, for instance, what new traffic layouts are going to do for access to St Michael's.
Very hard to tell what this means for the historic site of St John's Latimer Square, on a corner of the large stadium site. I can't help wondering if the Government wants that site once the transitional cathedral is finished with. On the plus side, vehicle access should be fine. If the site stays there, what a great opportunity to develop ministry to sportspeople, as well as to continue ministry to the polytech and to the enhanced technological and health precincts nearby.
St Luke's it seems might be neither enhanced or diminished in its location relative to the inner city.
What I think Anglicans and all Christians should do is give thanks for such a bold, innovative, and careful plan for our inner city. Governments occasionally get things right ...!
Other challenging news here as Bishop Victoria alerts to the needs of the poor in our city.