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$10 million Cathedral appeal

Gercine Carter

$10 million Cathedral appeal

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The Anglican Church is ramping up its efforts to restore the historic Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels with an appeal to all Anglicans here and to Barbadians in the diaspora to support the $10 million restoration effort.
In a letter being read in all 40 Anglican churches across Barbados today, Bishop of Barbados and Archbishop of the West Indies Dr John Holder has formally has asked church members to contribute five dollars per month for two years.
“As you are aware, the Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels is presently in a deplorable state of disrepair and the Diocese of Barbados has embarked upon a major project to raise $10 million for its restoration. It is a mammoth task, but with the support of all Anglicans both at home and abroad and with God’s help we will raise this money and have the Cathedral restored to its former glory,” Dr Holder wrote.
“If we can identify a number of people who are prepared to do this then we can raise a considerable sum towards the restoration of the Cathedral,” Bishop Holder told the SUNDAY SUN.
He emphasized the church had “a special spot in the history of Barbados . . . the spiritual oasis in The City for centuries”, which created a link with The City of Bridgetown.
He said that role played by the church “for a very long time” was often overlooked, but suggested it was a building that had been embraced by all Barbadians and therefore deserved a response from all Barbadians in the mission to restore the landmark that is now part of Historic Bridgetown And Its Garrison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Cathedral’s congregation has been struggling with the repair of the church for about three years, but the Bishop says a decision had been taken to make it a diocesan effort.
The centuries-old building gradually fell into a state of disrepair over the years with, among other problems, a leaking roof and broken windows, which the Bishop said was “not an overnight thing”.
“There has not been as consistent a repair effort on the Cathedral over the last 20 or 30 years as there should have been, and it caught up with us,” Bishop Holder said. He conceded that the massive repair work needed now resulted from years of maintenance and repair work “probably not being done as earnestly as it should have been”.
While he acknowledged that every Dean at the Cathedral had “done a bit”, he said “the major thing that was needed probably was not addressed as urgently as [was necessary]”. Still, he refused to lay any blame for “negligence”.
The church’s chancel, which accommodates the high altar, choir stalls and Bishop’s chair, has been out of use for about two years, though services continue to be held.
Diocesan trustee Henry Taylor said work on the roof of that section of the church was expected to be completed by the end of this month. Attention will turn next to replacing the faulty guttering, which has caused heavy water seepage and water damage to the interior of the church.
Replacement of windows and repair of pews will be done in later stages of the project.
Bishop Holder said other fund-raising activities such as organ recitals were being planned.