Hundreds attend Christchurch cathedral dedication
From Radio NZ
Anglicans turned up in their hundreds on Thursday night to attend the dedication service for Christchurch‘s Transitional Cathedral.
Around 600 people from throughout Canterbury and the West Coast attended the ceremony at the A-frame cathedral, which is made up of large cardboard cylinders.
Bishop Victoria Matthews says she visited the cathedral several times when it was a construction site but wasn’t prepared for her reaction the first time she saw it set up as a church.
“The tears came to my eyes and I really had a hard time keeping control because it was just so powerful,” she said.
Bishop Matthews hopes the cathedral will provide a place for Cantabrians to reflect on what is really important in life following the earthquakes.
She says it is very special to have the empty chair memorial to the 185 earthquake victims and the site of the CTV building close by.
The Sydney Morning Herald has named the cathedral as the ninth best new attraction for globetrotters to visit in 2013.
It is open to the public every day from 9am until 5pm.
As one person privileged to be present at our Christchurch Transitional Cathedral on Thursday evening on the Feast of Our Lady, I was pleasantly surprised by the interior of the building. Stark and spare, yet dignified and conducive to worship; the brand new building – which will take the place of the earthquake damaged Christchurch Cathedral in the City – provided a fitting setting for the Service of dedication led by our Bishop, Victoria Matthews.
The Cathedral Choir, directed by Brian Law, led the music, accompanied by the splendid sound of an electronic organ, providing a modern setting for the Mass that was at the heart of the Dedication ceremonies. An anthem, which recalled the blessedness of the mother of Christ, brought a particular poignancy to the proceedings, marking the specialness of the dedication ceremony for all present. It seemed that the whole congregation of more than six hundred people were intent on rededicating their own lives to Christ in their reverent reception of the Elements of the Eucharist – presided over by the Bishop, assisted at the altar by Acting Dean Lynda Patterson and Deacon Llewellyn Smith, who also read the Gospel. Additional music was provided by a small group of Sisters of the Community of the Sacred Name together with children of their acquaintance.
Dean Lynda’s sermon referred to the traumatic time of preparation for the building of the new cathedral (designed by Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban) – not least, the rush to prepare the building for its scheduled opening date, which was achieved despite attempts by opponents of its erection to frustrate its opening and use as a substitute for the damaged cathedral in the City Square.
The building is designed to last at least 50 years, and will – after the building of the planned permanent Cathedral in the Square – be used by the congregation of the original church on the site; Saint John’s, Latimer Square. as their replacement parish church.
The Service of Dedication has given new life to the Cathedral community, which has been using the chapel of Christ’s College in the interim, after the old Cathedral was de-consecrated before its planned demolition.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand