Friday, April 5, 2013

Cathedral of the skies

I never know whether to say on the blog that I am going away or not. Anyway I have been away and in a most worthwhile way. Neither a conference nor a committee but on a cycle tour! A family reunion of 68 Carrells, Easter Sunday and Monday, led to six of us - me, two brothers, two English husbands of cousins, and my 74 year old uncle, who is fitter than me :) - embarking on the Alps to Ocean cycle journey, Mt Cook to Oamaru. I am back in Christchurch before the trip is completed today as I have a training obligation.

Apart from a little rain, the weather has been brilliant, showcasing the magnificence of the territory we covered through the McKenzie country, its hydro power schemes and increasingly irrigated farms, down, yesterday, through the Waitaki valley power stations and their lakes. In perfect conditions yesterday morning one the world's most inspiring scenes looked like this:

Mt. Cook at the head of Lake Pukaki - on our first day the mountain was shrouded in cloud so this was a quick reversal of our route at 9 am to take advantage of perfect weather.

Not being very fit, I didn't cycle as much as others, there being convenient car ferrying duties to do, and also some time required one morning for a repair to my bike (how it came to be damaged is another story - what happens on tour, stays on tour!). But yesterday I was determined to bike over Benmore and Aviemore dams. The former required a hill climb so steep to get to it that I had to walk part way. But the view was magnificent:

A photo or two doesn't capture the 'feeling' of riding across the top of a dam with a lake on one side and the outflow on the other, all showcased in brilliant sunshine, surrounded by solemn hills and accompanied by the sounds of silence. From that 'height' the trip moved to a beautiful ride around the hydro lake behind the next dam, Aviemore. In effect, as the day moved from Mt Cook, through lakes, dams, and imposing hills, we were riding in God's cathedral of the skies. In that perfect place of worship, controversy had no cause to form and grow.

Meanwhile, back in Christchurch and through the secular and ecclesial media, three proposals for designs for our new Anglican cathedral were being showcased. Taonga has the story here, with some insightful pictures of exterior and interior designs.

There is much to ponder here, and only a few short weeks in which to absorb the details and to make comment before the decision is made from 2 May onwards by our Church Property Trustees. Hopefully the consultation process leads to a lowering of the temperature of the controversy which has attended our cathedral. There is now something constructive to consider, talk through and decide on to the glory of God.


Anonymous said...

Peter - childhood memories of North Otago brought back for me, thank you.


Father Ron Smith said...

Bravo the the Cathedral Trust, for unveiling the possibilities for a new Christchurch Cathedral in The Square.

My option is for the beautifully configured modern building - not as a dismissal of past glory, but, rather, as an earnest for the present and the future. This is also a reminder that God is not only the God of history, but also of new beginnings.

Christ is risen, Alleluia!
He is risen indeed, alleluia, Alleluia!

mike greenslade said...

Meditating on Aoraki is a good place to begin as we look to future Cathedral options!

Pageantmaster said...

There is something Tolkeinesque in the contemporary design?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great holiday Peter, and nice to have you back.

I have little hope that the heat surrounding the Cathedral will be lowered with the unveiling of the three options. Sadly certain self-appointed verbal bullies, some of whom are neither Anglicans nor contribute anything to the Angkican Church, are intent on continuing the shameful and inexcusable barrage of hateful rhetoric towards the Church and our Bishop, facilitated by that vile Liberal propaganda machine masquerading as a newspaper.

As to the options, I am normally predisposed to dislike anything "modern", but the third option is certainly impressive and the internal views stunning. Not sure about the tower itself, it looks a kittle twee to me, but that aside I think it's the best option.

Anonymous said...

The sweep of the arches in the "modern" option certainly reminds me of some of the scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies. For a "modern" option it has a very traditional feel about it .

Bryden Black said...

I agree with you Shawn - and amazingly Ron!

D3 is my own choice for these reasons. Just as the 19th C saw the Gothic revival driven by such powerful movements as Romanticism, so our own sensibilities are governed by far less moody currents. Ours too prefer light and airy spaces compared to dark forests of tall trees (strains of Wagner at this point?!). To which some might simply say D3 will date - and date like those awful buildings of the 1970s! In one sense, all architectural styles date. The interesting thing about D3 is its deliberate attempt to echo aspects of the original, while unashamedly declaring something bold and new. Is not the Christian Faith exactly that! And if the right mix of materials is carefully chosen - and so far things look promising - then it will most likely not be just another piece of industrial design.