Bishop Matthews – Wealthy and powerful tell us they know best


The outgoing Bishop of Christchurch, Victoria Matthews, has said goodbye to her diocese with an attack on civic authorities over their handling of the future of Christchurch Cathedral.

She was speaking at a special Choral Eucharist in Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral last Sunday.

She said the Christchurch Cathedral restoration is being driven by “the wealthy and the powerful.”

“Business as usual folks, with the wealthy and powerful telling you, the people of Canterbury, that they know best – good luck with that,” Matthews said.

Matthews said people are more important than buildings.

“Fifteen thousand earthquakes have shaken us and what we thought we were about.

“The greatest energy seven to eight years on is invested in restoring business to normal.

“Politicians are far more interested in getting elected and keeping up on the polls than actually assisting the people on the east side of town,” she said.

Matthews said the synod agreed to restore the cathedral only in a bid to reconcile the Anglican Diocese with the wider community.

“‘I will work with the church’ said the Christchurch mayor with tears in her eyes. Now, seven months later, the city council declares its money is being withheld to the last moment and perhaps won’t be needed.”

In December, the council said its grant would be made available only once other sources of Crown and church funding had been applied to the restoration.

If the fundraising exceeds the amount required for the Cathedral’s reinstatement, the Council’s contribution will be adjusted accordingly.

Matthews also took aim at the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT).

“We have the trust who admit they have not adopted a fundraising strategy yet let alone started fundraising.

“And we have $1m being given over seven years by one person and not the $13.7m promised by the GCBT.”

Greater Christchurch Building Trust co-founder, Philip Burdon, said Matthews’ comments are incorrect and disappointing.

“Her remarks are ungenerous and unfortunate, the trust continues to support the church at every level,” Mr Burdon said.


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