Vicious debate mars Christ Church Cathedral rebuild

The heads of Christchurch’s Christian churches have supported the Anglican Synod’s decision to rebuild their cathedral.

However, they have expressed regret at what they call the conduct of some aspects of the debate.

The church leaders say there is a great deal of concern about the sometimes vicious nature of the debate.

“Vitriol and personal attack add nothing of value to a decision-making process, and in fact demean all of us in the city,” they say.

Their joint statement of support and concern comes after the Anglican Synod voted on options to replace Christ Church Anglican Cathedral.

A 55% majority voted this week to restore and rebuild. It will cost about $108 million.

Christchurch’s Christian churches say the saga has been long and difficult. They say every Cantabrian must be aware of the angst and debate over the future of the building.

The church leaders say the decision to demolish or rebuild was for Anglicans to make. But many Christians have felt a stake in the matter, even from the sidelines.

They say many have prayerfully supported their Anglican brothers and sisters, their leaders, and Anglican Bishop, Victoria Matthews.

With the decision made, the churches say they express unequivocal support for the Anglican community. They look forward to seeing a building filled with people and praise again.

They say, “Christians are fallible humans… so we acknowledge our shortcomings. However, as followers in the footsteps of Jesus, we are glad to be called by God to bless the city with hope, joy, creativity, beauty and love.”

Matthews, says she had supported demolition. But she says that a government’s offer of funding had changed her mind.

She said a new Christ Church Anglican Cathedral should be ready within ten years.

Fr Rick Loughnan represented the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch on the group and Mike Stopforth the Catholic Bishop’s Pastoral Office.


Image: RNZ


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