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Seven years on the Cathedral of the Diocese of Christchurch still lies in ruin

Seven years on the Cathedral of the Diocese of Christchurch still lies in ruin

Christchurch Cathedral was severely damaged by major earthquakes that hit Christchurch from September 2010 to summer 2012. Other than to secure the structure from further damage and to ensure no one is injured, nothing has been done to replace or repair the building.

The church properties of the Diocese of Christchurch are owned and managed by the Church Properties Trustees (CPT) which is chaired the Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Revd Victoria Mathews.  In FEB 2012, the CPT took the decision to raze the structure and build a new, modern and earthquake resistant Cathedral that will meet the needs and mission of the diocese today and into the future. In addition to building a structure that meets today’s needs, the CPT is also limited in what can be accomplished by the funds available from insurance on the building. The insurance will provide NZ$40 million and a full restoration of the cathedral, including earthquake strengthening, has been priced at NZ$65 million.

After the CPT took the decision to build a new Cathedral in the location, a local organization, the Great Christchurch Building Trust (GCBT), which is not in favor of the Diocese’s plan for the building, took the diocese to court in JUN 2012. The GCBT challenged the diocese’s right to demolish the building and erect a new, modern structure. The local judge in the matter directed the diocese to consult the public and ruled that the CPT was within its rights to demolish and replace the building. The GCBT disagreed and appealed the judge’s decision in APR 2013. The appeals court agreed with the judge’s ruling. A further appeal was also lost by the GCBT in JUN 2014.

Rather than plunge into demolishing the building and erecting a new Cathedral, the diocese and CPT decided to make another attempt to have a conversation with the public and GCBT. So the situation drags on three years later. The CPT states that it is required to have funds in hand before the project can begin and that the proposal from GCBT would leave the diocese with a substantial debt. Some folks in Christchurch are of the mistaken opinion that the CPT has the funds to restore the Cathedral, however, the CPT has no actual assets, it holds all of the diocese’s properties in trust.

The photo and some of the facts are from the Anglican Communion News Service. Other facts in the story are gathered from Restore Christchurch Cathedral.

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JC Fisher

Prayers for Christchurch, and Christ’s Church.

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