Christchurch Cathedral was deconsecrated today. The structure was severely damaged by 6.3 earthquakes that struck New Zealand last February.
ACNS has the story:
The 130-year-old spiritual centrepiece of Christchurch today was reduced to an ordinary ruin. And all in the space of half an hour.
Up to 350 people gathered under a leaden sky in Cathedral Square for the service of deconsecration, led by Bishop Victoria Matthews.
They were principally cathedral folk and diocesan clergy, but a scattering of civic representatives included earthquake minister Gerry Brownlee, off to one side and darkly attired like a respectful funeral director.
Facing the broken entrance – albeit at a safe distance – the congregation quietly gave thanks for the extraordinary life and ministry of the place since the original consecration by Bishop Henry Harper in November 1881.
“We did not treat this space as we would ordinary space, but as we would treat the very presence of God,” they intoned in the litany.
And then, in solemn committal: “Today we return this space to the common, and return this place to the earth.” Even the wind sighed in sympathy.