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New news …

Children and Families Worker

We have now appointed a children and families worker. Emma Cooper will join us from July 2024. She is an engineering student at Canterbury University and has worked with children in churches in Wellington and Christchurch. She currently attends All Saints in Burwood. Growing up in a Salvation Army church, she may not know all the details of Anglican liturgy, but she does know Jesus. I hope that you can welcome her to St Paul’s. Her work here is funded by a grant from the Journeys to Jesus Fund.

Christchurch Cathedral

As reported in the media, synod on Saturday 22 June 2024 decided to press ahead with the rebuild of the Cathedral in the Square. It decided to decrease the cost and scope of the project by only aiming for 67% of building standards for earthquake strengthening instead of 100%, and by not constructing the visitor centre and cathedral centre. It also decided to sell the Cardboard Cathedral and the deanery, as well as making more money available from the St Luke’s sale. However, whether the rebuild goes ahead depends on significant contributions from local and central government ($75—$85 million) and the generosity of donors ($26 million). Nothing has been promised by any government. The best-case scenario will be that government contributions and general donations are forthcoming and that the Cathedral will be restored by 2031, with money from visitors financing the considerable insurance, operating and maintenance costs. In my opinion, the worst-case scenario would be that the Diocese takes on considerable loans to finance the completion, the cathedral will be rebuilt some time in the 2030s but then insurance, operating and maintenance costs become a drain for years to come, and finally an earthquake causing considerable damage. If things go wrong earlier, the Anglican Church may end up with no Cathedral in the central city, leaving the Church of St Michael and All Angels as the only inner-city Anglican church (and pro-Cathedral?). As you can see there are still many risks.

There are a few positives from the reduced scope. Aiming for 67% of the building standards may paradoxically make the Cathedral more resistant to the expected large Alpine Fault earthquake. It also means we don’t get that ugly design for the visitor centre or cathedral centre. Worldwide there is a movement against such modernist architecture, particularly close to historical buildings. Maybe in a few years this movement will also reach New Zealand and we can build something beautiful alongside the Cathedral.