Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cathedral Reinstatement? "Repair, restoration, and reconstruction."

It sounds very much like we are moving forward on a "reinstated" cathedral in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. Miriam Dean QC has made a report on the possibilities of the cathedral being reinstated or replaced, without a firm recommendation for either option. Responses from the Church Property Trustees and the Great Christchurch Building Trust indicate satisfaction with the report. But there is work to be done on costs, fundraising, safety.  A further report is indicated as coming at the end of April 2016.

On the possibility of "reinstatement" rather than replacement, Miriam Dean seems to be suggesting that the cathedral could be reinstated to what it once was by a mixture of repair, restoration and reconstruction.

"The diocesan statement noted that according to the report, reinstatement would require repair, restoration, and reconstruction."

I take that to mean that some parts of the building a repairable, some parts need painstaking restoration, and other parts (presumably the West end and tower in particular) would need reconstruction.

A Stuff report is here. I think this one is different/updated, here .

A TV One report is here.

A Taonga report is here.

Bosco Peters offers a reflection here.

I hope, post Christmas, to offer some thoughts on a theology of reinstatement ...


Pageantmaster said...

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
Nehemiah 2:17-18

Have a Happy Christmas Peter+ and all your readers

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you Pageantmaster!

Father Ron Smith said...

Cost and Viability? - No contest. A brand new building, on both counts!

What is needed now is for the Heritage Trust - with its two feisty ex-politicians - to let go of their litigious opposition to what seems best to the CPT, who actually own the site and the building, and who know best how to provide a worship space that is safe and affordable.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Build cathedrals slowly. And, a bit like a major hospital or airport, a real cathedral should never be finished as planned. Nobody today would prefer the intended Chartres to the actual one. Michaelangelo's brilliant but esoteric dream of St Peter's would have been far less popular with pilgrims than the long airplane hangar with service bays that was actually built. Plans and hearts must be broken often for a jewel to have facets.

The stories of many cathedrals show that, if you take a century or so to build one, its plans and elevations evolve best over a few generations. Nor is this a medieval counsel of perfection. The cathedrals of SS Peter and Paul (Washington) and St John the Divine (New York) each took about a century to build, showing that patient, organic, futuristic construction is possible even today. The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington), built quickly in response to a command from the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a seeming exception, but if the pious are to be believed, even she has returned many times to demand improvements.

So the insistence on an impossibly expensive restoration of the status quo ante may prove to be an ironic blessing for Christchurch. Like sentimentalists generally, antiquarians want quick magic. Remembering the first time the cathedral was built, they want to see the rock of ages cleft for them again in a few months. But if that entails a cost beyond the ordinary means of a working diocese that preaches the gospel, feeds the hungry, etc, then despite all that financiers and engineers do to accelerate construction, artists and churchmen may yet slow it all down to the tempo of the Age of Faith. The result may have the beauty of holiness that is, to any single mortal mind, unimaginable.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

The thing that worries me the most is if the Anglican church kicks in say $50 million odd and "the community" kicks in the other $50 million odd, who owns the building, and who gets to say what happens in it? Do we wan "the community" deciding that only interfaith services without a single Christian reference can be held in "their" building that they have "paid" for?


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter, Margaret has a point. Do you really want the secular worthy donors demanding that a new community Cotton Wool Cathedral preach secular primary school type mini values. Respect and integrity ( on just about every secular
primary school list) sound candy nice sweet, but sacrifice, selflessness, perservence and loving the contemptible are a few of what we signed up for.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Margaret and Nick
I have no idea what "strings attached" might accompany any public money provided to reinstate the cathedral.
I would, however, be most surprised if the Church Property Trustees agreed to any kind of deal which involved compromise of the creedal Christian faith shared by Anglicans.
IMHO we can frame the matter in this way:
- we Anglicans wish to have a cathedral on land in the Square dedicated to cathedral worship and mission;
- the wider public (it appears) wish to see the present, wrecked cathedral reinstated rather than a new cathedral built;
- there is a difference in cost between reinstatement and replacement, and we will not be able to fund the former without assistance;
- any assistance with the former will be welcome (but not if strings are attached).

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I think those who pay the piper might be more sophisticated nowadays. Rather than demanding that they call the tune, they "merely" expect to be consulted when the tune is being chosen. The Courts value consultation in a pluralistic democracy. Perhaps Caesar money needs to be left where it belongs; in secular work and sorting sewerage.


Kurt said...

“The cathedrals of SS Peter and Paul (Washington) and St John the Divine (New York) each took about a century to build, showing that patient, organic, futuristic construction is possible even today.”—Bowman

And St. John’s is still not complete. Major portions remaining include the transept, the tower rising above it, and one of the two towers in the front of the building.

The people of Christchurch, of course, must make any decision about their cathedral. Personally, I would take the time, effort and money for a full reconstruction of the 1863 building, using as much of the current structure remaining as possible.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Kurt and Bowman
The history of cathedral building in NZ, along the lines you encourage, is not encouraging!
- we have cathedrals about half the size of their original grandiose designs, almost certain never to be "completed" according to those designs;
- we have cathedrals built to a certain point, stopped and then, years later, finished with a "new bit": it is a moot point whether these "new bits" help or hinder the architectural beauty of the whole.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Peter, what you say about cathedrals in NZ-- and indeed what Kurt says about "St John the Unfinished" in NY-- is perfectly normal. It's not quite as bad as building a sky-high tower until heaven scrambles the speech of the masons to stop it, but there are similarities too obvious to mention. To finish its stone cathedral with a nave a tenth of a mile long, Washington had to open a school for young men looking to cut stone for the diocese for the rest of their working lives.

We feel somehow that societies with cell phones should be beyond all that, but the main thing that has changed since the middle ages is that the focus of civic ambition in cathedral-building-- you didn't think that a cathedral was a church matter, I hope?-- has shifted from scarce and valuable relics that will boost civic pride and attract pilgrims to a scenic postcard image that will boost civic pride and attract tourists. (Do you think that the committee building Antonio Gaudi's cathedral for Barcelona has bothered to acquire a single sacred tooth from the sainted dead?) Civic image matters, and the idea of rebuilding the old cathedral is just a placeholder until something better more profitable comes along. Have you considered rebuilding Gondor instead?

But why not be optimistic? It may well be that in the best of all possible dioceses, in the best of all possible provinces, in the best of all reasonable communions, in the best of all possible worlds, everything will be for the best. Because a new design is best, as Father Ron says, the Heritage Trust was bound to fight for the old design. And because the Heritage Trust won that fight, the cost alone assures an interesting construction history, which in turn ensures that, once those fighting trustees are interred under the chancel, the cathedral will be completed with the new design prophesied by Father Ron. There is nothing logical about building a cathedral-- there never has been-- and that is for the best.

Bowman Walton