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Cathedral needs funds for repairs

Gercine Carter

Cathedral needs funds for repairs

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CHAIRMAN OF THE Diocesan Trustees of  the Anglican Church, Dr Hartley Richards, has appealed to Barbadians to assist with the restoration of the St. Michael and All Angels Cathedral.
He admitted that fund-raising for restoring the national heritage site had been “a bit slow”.
Efforts are under way to raise $7.5 million, the initial estimated cost to restore the main church of the Anglican congregation in Barbados.
Richards said account No. 1000035106 had been opened at FirstCaribbean International Bank (Barbados) Ltd for public donations.
Richards said the $350 000 raised so far was being used to begin repairs on the chancel roof, nave and back tower, work which is currently in progress as part of Phase One.
Architect Robert O’Neal of Design Collaborative said the entire project could take at least three years, providing the funds were available.
Work is being done in several phases and the chairman said a foundation created within the church initially to address the restoration drive would continue organising fund-raising.
The Cathedral fell into a state of disrepair over a long period, with leaking roofs, rising damp from gutters, mildew, and peeling paint, broken windows and several other problems that trigged a public outcry.
Richards said the Anglican community had not been able to keep the church in good condition “and the church has been showing signs of wear for many years”.
Appeals for assistance will be made to Barbadians in the diaspora and to international organisations.
Richards said he did not rule out asking Government for assistance with Value Added Tax (VAT) relief, though he acknowledged it might be difficult for Government to help, given the current tough economic climate.
He described as “a misconception” the widely-held belief that the Anglican Church was “a big land-owner” and could sell some land to raise a significant amount of funds.
 Richards explained that church lands had to be held in trust for future generations. The Anglicans own about 50 churches in Barbados.