Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ecumenical Response to Synod's Cathedral Decision

Thanks to a commenter on Bosco Peter's post on our Synod decision re reinstatement of the cathedral, I have now noticed an ecumenical church leaders' response to the decision. It is worth copying in full here:

Sunday 10 September 2017
The Anglican Cathedral has been at the centre of perhaps one of the most public and fraught stories coming out of the devastation caused by Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. It has been a long and difficult saga. Every Cantabrian has to be aware of the angst and debate regarding the future of this iconic building in the centre of our city. Every New Zealander probably, and many people in various parts of the world, also know about this broken building and the conflict over its future.
While it is primarily an Anglican conversation, along with other interested parties, many Christians have felt a stake in this matter, even if for most, it is from the side-lines. So, in the lead up to the Anglican Synod and their decision regarding the future of the Cathedral, many have prayerfully supported their Anglican brothers and sisters, their leaders, and Bishop Victoria.
Now that they have carefully considered the many conflicting interests, weighed their options and thoughtfully arrived at a decision, leaders of most groups of churches in our city and region are glad to express unequivocal support for the Anglican community. The rebuild will be a demanding project, a whole new challenge. We look forward to seeing a successful conclusion, a building ready to be filled with people and praise again.
At a recent Heads of Christian Denominations meeting, serious concern was expressed about the conduct of some aspects of the debate around the cathedral. Church leaders recognised the contentious nature of the issue and the complexities involved, however there is great concern about the occasionally vicious nature of some of the debate. Vitriol and personal attack add nothing of value to a decision-making process, and in fact demean all of us in the city.
Now Christian leaders plead with everyone interested in this divisive debate to accept the decision that has been carefully and legitimately made. Let us put division and bitterness behind us and work together for the good of our whole community.
The vision Christian leaders share for our Christchurch is of a great city, bursting with life, its people thriving and prospering in every sense. Every day Christians work in a multitude of ways for the good of the people of this city and we are committed to continuing this work, in compassion and care, in the arts and business, in education and community building. We want a city where everyone is welcomed and respected, whether people of a faith and creed or not. We desire a city where there is opportunity for everyone to positively participate and contribute, where goodwill and generosity of spirit build strong vibrant communities across the city and region. We dream of a city where our modern nation’s founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi, is honoured, not simply settled.
There is much yet to be done; in housing, mental health, education, employment, racial reconciliation and more besides; and it will take us all working together for the common good.
The task for all Christian believers is to shine the same light of God’s love and grace in our city here today, and in the days ahead.
Christians are fallible humans, we do not always reach the heights we aspire to, and so we acknowledge our shortcomings. However, as followers in the footsteps of Jesus we are glad to be called by God to bless the city with hope, joy, creativity, beauty and love.
This is our commitment to the city and region we love.
We invite all people of hope and vision to join with us in this dream, as we join with you; we all need each other.
Paul Askin, Senior Pastor Kaiapoi Baptist Church
Maurice Atkinson, Regional Mission Leader for Canterbury Westland Baptist Association
Steve Burgess, Senior Pastor South City C3
David Coster, Moderator Alpine Presbytery,Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
Alan Jamieson, Senior Pastor South West Baptist Church
Margie Lamborn, Regional Overseer of Central South Island Assemblies of God
Fr Rick Loughnan, Administrator for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch
David MacGregor, Senior Pastor Grace Vineyard Church
Donald Scott, Senior Pastor North City Church
Ken Shelley, Senior Pastor King’s Church
Mike Stopforth, Director Catholic Bishop’s Pastoral Office
Nu Telea, Senior Pastor Elim Church Christchurch City
Kathryn Walters, District Superintendent Central South Island Synod Methodist Church of New Zealand"


Andrei said...

This should have been an issue for Anglicans to resolve among themselves, when Government money, central and local becomes involved it is everyone's issue.

And the $64,000 question is how is the resurrected Cathedral going to be used and what strings come attached with the taxpayer investment?

Father Ron Smith said...

Andrei, Anglicans DID try to resolve the matter of our Cathedral themselves. It was prevented from doing so by the constant threat of opposing litigation.

The matter of future use of the Cathedral is up to the diocese and the Cathedral Chapter. Christchurch Cathedral has traditionally been open to use by the City of Christchurch for Civic occasions and will presumably still be available for that purpose.

The Cathedral authorities did not promote government action on the cathedral, this was prompted by the political forces that were involved. The diocese would have preferred to settle the situation in its own way - without any outside intervention. However, a decision has now been made on the future of the Cathedral by the diocesan synod, and we all must live with that decision, moving on from the culture of litigious intervention.

I was a supporter of a new building financed entirely by the diocese. However, aware of the prayerful decision of Synod, I am content with what has been a difficult and lengthy process that, at least, ends confrontation.

Andrei said...

" Andrei, Anglicans DID try to resolve the matter of our Cathedral themselves. It was prevented from doing so by the constant threat of opposing litigation."

I know all that Fr Ron

I also strongly suspect that if the Member for Christchurch Central's hold on her seat was not somewhat tenuous and there is a general election in 10 days the Government would not be coming to the party...

I am not against restoring the Cathedral per se but the reasons for doing so have to be the right ones

Craig Liken said...

I think there was a political will from government just to break the deadlock and get things moving. It seemed to me that there was cross party support for the move - it didn't seem to be a purely political move to garner support for National -not as I read it anyhow.

It should be noted that the government offer of support was made at least 3 or 4 months ago, when Labour had about 24% support or thereabouts.

Sam Anderson said...

Good points there, Craig.