Archbishop of York Backs Diocesan Plan re Cathedral

Dr Sentamu focuses on resurrection

The Archbishop of York pins his hopes on resurrection rather than resuscitation in Christchurch.

JAYSON RHODES   |  28 MAR 2014

The Archbishop of York sees signs of resurrection in Christchurch, even though parts of the city look to him like a war zone.

Dr John Sentamu and his wife Margaret toured the city yesterday as they wound up their stay in New Zealand.

They saw the housing challenges facing people in the red zone, and visited the quake-damaged Cathedral in the Square.

The Archbishop last visited Christchurch four years ago and had fond memories of the music in the Cathedral.

In his evensong sermon in the Transitional Cathedral yesterday, the Archbishop gave thanks for the beauty of creation despite so much devastation.

He then urged the congregation to shine with the transfiguring light that tells of God – “the same light that was known on the mountaintop by Peter, James and John as Jesus was transfigured from within.”

The Archbishop said while Peter suggested building a campsite, the call on each of us was to leave the mountain and be on the plains as spirit-filled people.

He added that the new Cathedral in the Square needed to be about “resurrection and not resuscitation.”

Cathedrals and churches, the Archbishop said, were essential for worship and symbolized the teaching office of the Bishop, but all Christians were called to be pilgrims on the plains.

During his tour of the city he was asked by reporters what he thought should happen to the damaged Cathedral.

Engineering reports made clear that the building needed to come down, he said. Moreover, the old plans should not be pulled out again as nostalgia didn’t work.

“I am looking for resurrection,” he added. “To those who want to replicate what was there, I say: ‘do not mortgage the future; put up something that will be beautiful and wonderful for the city’.”

Today the Archbishop will attend the three-tikanga Youth Synod before travelling to Auckland tomorrow for a function in Holy Trinity Cathedral.


Yesterday, the New Zealand Press recorded the opinion of the visiting Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, as totally supportive of the plans of the Christchurch Anglican Diocese to demolish the quake-compromised remains of the old Cathedral in The City, and to build a new, dynamic and quake-sustainable building for the future.

“Do not mortgage the future; put up something that will be beautiful and wonderful for the city’.”  

This opinion is in complete accord with our Bishop, Victoria Matthews, the Standing Committee of the Diocese, The cathedral Trust and the Anglican population of Christchurch – hopefully, putting an end to the contentious desire of a political group that favours the restoration of the old cathedral building.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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