Restore or rebuild – crunch time for Christchurch Cathedrals

The Catholic and the Anglican Churches are facing some tough decisions about the future of their Christchurch Cathedrals –  restore the old ones or build new ones.

The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament leaders are considering whether to restore the building for more than $100m or build a new cathedral for about $40m.

“I am still 50-50. Half of me wants to restore it to its former glory and half wants to build a new one,” said  board chairman Lance Ryan. “I am trying to get a decision from the engineers by Christmas,” he said.

A similar decision faces the Anglicans. Divisions became apparent with the resignation of the Dean of the Cathedral, Peter Beck, last week. It is said  Bishop Matthews appears to favour demolishing the cathedral and building a new church, either on the same site or elsewhere. Beck, it is said, wants to repair the cathedral and restore it to its former glory.

They also disagree over the distribution of fundraising money – the bishop wanting to scatter the money among all of Christchurch’s parishes. The bishop is said to have taken full control of all decisions, leaving Beck out in the cold.



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