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Christchurch Synod Votes to Reinstate Cathedral

Posted on: September 11, 2017 1:44 PM
Christchurch Cathedral
Related Categories: Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand

[anglicanlife] Christchurch Cathedral will be reinstated, the Christchurch Diocesan Synod has decided.

“This was not an easy or quick decision for the more than 220 members of Synod,” said Bishop Victoria Matthews.

From the evening Eucharist of September 7th, and over September 8th and 9th the clergy and laity of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Christchurch listened to the Holy Spirit in prayer.

They also listened to one another, to political leaders and to a panel of experts in the fields of engineering, quantity surveying, law and recovery work from both within and outside the church prior to making their decision.  The debate was both robust and respectful.

Calls came in from many churches and individuals across the country and beyond promising prayer to support Synod.

“Option A was chosen knowing we could not please everyone, but the overwhelming message Christchurch people told us was to ‘just get on with it’ and make a decision,” Bishop Matthews said.

“Many Synod members and observers addressed the Synod with passion and conviction, discussing the history of Canterbury and the defining role of the Anglican Cathedral in the creation of New Zealand’s first city.  Other speeches spoke of a vision for the future and the need for change as the church seeks to grow.

“In the end the Synod prayed and made its decision (Acts 15: 28a says ‘it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us’) which was a 54.9 per cent majority to reinstate.

“No one can say the decision was made lightly.  It was also made with those in attendance being aware of an 8.1 earthquake near Mexico and a 4.3 earthquake in Canterbury happening during the Synod,” Bishop Victoria Matthews said.

“We have made history today and we can move on.

“I was pleased that the Minister Supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Nicky Wagner MP and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, had the opportunity to address the Synod and I admired the passion in which they put forward their views.  I am impressed that both came back to hear the decision.”

This decision now directs Church Property Trustees (CPT), the body that administers the property and investments of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch, to work with the Government to ‘enter into such contracts and arrangements and take whatever steps it deems necessary’ to bring about the reinstatement of the Cathedral.

A late amendment to the motion supported by Synod members included that the financial contribution of CPT and the Diocese will be limited to the Cathedral material damage insurance proceeds plus investment returns in hand.  This ensures that CPT and the Diocese are not liable for any cost overruns.

The next stages include:

  • CPT and the Government working together to finalise the arrangements including establishing the fundraising trust and Unincorporated Joint Venture and confirming the funding from the Christchurch City Council and the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust funding.
  • The CPT and the established Unincorporated Joint Venture setting up a project budget to include construction costs (estimated $104,000,000), fundraising costs (estimated $4,000,000), plus sufficient further funds for any other costs associated with reinstatement. This will include an endowment to fund the future on-going costs of insurance and maintenance (estimated $10,000,000);

As the decision stipulates, the Cathedral reinstatement project will be completed in three parts:

  • reinstatement of the main building, which must proceed first;
  • reinstatement of the tower; and
  • reinstatement of the ancillary buildings.

No significant work will begin on each part until ‘funding sufficient to cover the total cost of each part has been guaranteed inclusive of endowments needed to cover future on-going costs of insurance and maintenance for that part; and any other terms CPT considers reasonable that are not inconsistent with this resolution of the Synod including the particulars in the Cathedral Working Group report of November 2016’, the decision concludes.

“Synod has voted, decided and confirmed reinstatement of the ChristChurch Cathedral in the square. To God be the glory,” Bishop Victoria Matthews said.