Plan to publicly fund damaged cathedral meets opposition

Plan to publicly fund damaged cathedral meets opposition December 11, 2017

Almost seven years ago ‘acts of God’ in the form of earthquakes damaged buildings – including a deconsecrated Anglican cathedral –  in Christchurch, New Zealand.
But a plan to use get residents to contribute cash rebuild the cathedral has not gone down well with many local residents, according to this report.
In September, the Anglican Synod voted to rebuild the ChristChurch Cathedral, which had been damaged on no fewer than six occasions by earthquakes between 1881 (coincidentally when the Freethinker was first published) and 2011. The plan came with various funding pledges, including a $10-million (£5.7-m)  grant from the Christchurch City Council.
But after public consultation, the council found the majority of residents did not believe ratepayers should foot part of the bill. A total of 1,063 people lodged objections to the grant.
Spreydon resident, Janet Begg, was among them, and she said the Christchurch City Council should not waste a cent of ratepayers’ money on it.

It’s not one of the core functions of the Christchurch City Council … we have far more important things to be doing. We are supposed to be a secular country and our rates should not be used to prop up the Anglicans.

The campaign to restore the cathedral, at a cost of $104-m (£53.77-m), already came with significant financial support, including a separate $25-m (£12.93) pledge from the government.
The Greater Christchurch Building Trust pledged another $13.5-m (£7-m), and believed it could raise more money.
The Anglican Church’s insurance payout of  $42-m (£21.7-m), would also be used.
In October, the Christchurch City Council voted that its $10-m contribution, if passed, would be raised through targeted rates.
Celia Hogan, who was a direct descendant of the city’s first Anglican bishop, Henry Harper, did not think a small rates increase was too much to ask for.

I think it’s very affordable and very beneficial for our city … it only equates to about 23 cents per week … per ratepayer.

The council grant also had the backing of the New Zealand Stone Mason’s Association, and its spokesperson, Paul Gautron, said it would give some stone masons a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The chance to train apprentices, to give them the experience of working on a project like that, it’s not something that happens on a regular basis [anywhere in the world]. It would be an honour for any stone mason to work on that building.

A Hearings Panel, made up of Christchurch’s councillors and the Mayor, Lianne Dalziel, will discuss the submissions at a meeting on Thursday.
Christchurch Anglicans are currently worshipping in a cathedral made of cardboard.

It has been decribed as “kitsch” by the Wizard of New Zealand, London-born Ian Brackenbury Channell, 85, above. He strongly campaigned against the plan to demolish the cathedral and build a new one on the site.

"Good...I think making life better for those around us is something amyone should strive for ..."

Exorcist plans counter-attack against witches cursing ..."
"Total twats. Why hasn't it worked after 2,000 years. Isn't that a long enough trial."

As crime rates soar, UK cop ..."
"A crescent, six-pointed star, and plain cross are explicitly sectarian symbols, and corrosive to the ..."

Crucifix is not a religious symbol, ..."
"Really? I always thought of karma as a 1:1 cause/effect thing.(Nothing supernatural about it, either: ..."

Exorcist plans counter-attack against witches cursing ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David Anderson

    “I think it’s very affordable and very beneficial for our city … it only equates to about 23 cents per week … per ratepayer.”
    That’s $1206 a year, very affordable if you have the fucking money Hogan. And it should be “… it equates only to…”

  • Italian Scallion

    Since it was an act of god, then let him pay for the restoration.

  • Broga

    Let those who want it rebuilt pay for it. But that is not the Christian way. They want all, including atheists, to pay.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    @David Anderson: “23 cents per week … per ratepayer.”
    That’s $1206 a year,

    Uhhh.. what?

  • CoastalMaineBird

    it was an act of god, then let him pay
    My sentiments exactly. He’s already contributed all he’s going to.

  • Duuuhhhuuhuhhh

    Raze it to the ground and build a more modest earthquake proof structure so that next time it does not get damaged. Why do christians, humble servants of god, need an in your face ostentatious place for wasting their time anyway unless it is to exert some power over the masses including those who need no gods. Raze it. Flog off the stone and architectural antiques and build a safe resilient place for the christians meet and bleat. And not a penny of tax payers dosh is needed. Raze, sell off, build a modest place within the limit of the budget provided by the sales and whatever the church can stump up extra.

  • Duuuhhhuuhuhhh

    And I though god done it anyway because the nasty gays didn’t repent their sins. Pity god is such a shoddy worker that he overdid it and wrecked the place in which his flock fawn and simmer over him.

  • Ate Berga

    Strange, those who can “prophet”from the venture are for it, the other just see it as an unnecessary expense.

  • David Anderson

    @CostalMainBird: Ah, the importance of the decimal point. I’ll go and sit in the corner now.

  • AgentCormac

    The anglican church is one of the richest institutions in the world. If they want it rebuilt they should stump up the cash.

  • L.Long

    What ! Are you going against gawd’s plan again! He wants you sick, but you go to satan’s secular doctors, now gawd knocks down the silly building of silly ideas, and now you are trying to get satan atheists to pay for a rebuild!!! All xtians are satanists!!!!

  • Angela_K

    The good old Anglican church, robbing the poor to keep the church rich. My village has a bog standard Norman church, architecturally not that interesting but the local Christian taliban leafleted everyone in the village begging for money to repair the roof because they claimed it was “an important village asset”. This is an “asset” that is used by about twenty ageing and deluded people every Sunday in a village of about 1000.

  • barriejohn

    I am concerned at the loss of buildings of historical or architectural significance – mostly due to Acts of Man it has to be said – but I don’t see much about that one to warrant the cost of rebuilding it. I’m a bit confused, too, as I don’t see why they are getting in such a tizzy over a “deconsecrated” building. Anyway, they have billions in the bank, so why not use some imagination and commission a modern, forward-looking building, as was the case at Coventry?

  • AgentCormac

    @Angela_K
    Our village church is of a similar age and patronised exclusively by locals who are in excess of 70 years of age. I honestly wouldn’t want to see it destroyed as it’s part of the history and narrative of the village, but I flatly refuse to put my hand in my pocket to maintain the place when the CofE has £7.9bn worth of assets and last year made a 17% return on its investments. Exploiting the goodwill of local communities and expecting them to dig ever deeper while the CofE brand itself continues to amass unimaginable wealth for itself has been staple stuff for these thieving bastards for 1500 years. It’s one aspect of catholicism they decided from day one was worth preserving.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/21/church-commissioners-for-england-ethical-investing

  • Duuuhhhuuhuhhh

    The Anglicans should borrow some dosh from one of the companies they invested in …. WONGA. That kind of demonstrates what the main priority of the Anglicans is … robbing the poor to sponsor the rich.

  • Duuuhhhuuhuhhh
  • RussellW

    Considering that the rebuilding of Christchurch is, er, somewhat behind schedule, there’s a thousand other better uses for ratepayers’ money.
    What is a ‘targeted rate’?

  • StephenJP

    AgentCormac and Angela_K: it’s worth recalling that virtually all the CofE’s income (roughly £1.5bn a year IIRC) goes on clergy pay and pensions, and the upkeep of the estate. They spend almost nothing on the 7,000-odd church schools they are so keen to keep their talons into. Nor do they spend much on charitable causes (except proselytising). They could find the money to restore village churches if they really wanted to; or they could sell them off. They like to make out that they have a “mission” to “minister” to the whole population of the country; but I suspect that they are afraid that the more they give up their little enclaves across the country, the sooner the entire house of cards will collapse.
    As regards Christchurch, it seems clear that many, perhaps most, New Zealanders don’t want to spend a lot of money rebuilding this edifice in an earthquake zone. My eldest daughter is married to one, and FWIW none of his extended family regards it as a good use of taxpayers’ money.

  • Vanity Unfair

    If the building has been deconsecrated is it really a cathedral? If the church authorities have deconsecrated it, it must follow that they do not think that it serves the purpose of a church any longer. So why do they want to rebuild it?
    From the picture above it would seem that the buildings around the “cathedral” survived the earthquake. This is probably because they were built using non-religious engineering and architectural techniques that had been developed in the 107 years between the opening and the earthquake. If taxation is to be a source of funding then what is needed is a secular public meeting hall that uses modern techniques and, at the same time, results in a better-looking building than the bland stuff evident in the photograph. That would be a better legacy for the city than rebuilding in the neo-gothic style that has proved unsuitable for use in an earthquake zone.

  • Robster

    The deity’s cathedral and another Jesus worshipping venue were outside of the TV station, the two most deadly places during the recent earthquakes in Christchurch. Notice too, they have insurance!

  • John C

    Whats incredible is that they already have over 52 million pledged by the insurance and another organisation, i know building is expensive but they clearly need a better project manager on the job if they canot pull off the building with a budget tike that, the figure quoted , over 100 million to build a new earthquake magnet is crazy, the old saying, cut the coat acording to the cloth should apply.100 million could fund hospitals or services that deliver, rather than a gilded edifice to stupidity.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Do the churches in NZ pay tax? If not, then they have no right to claim tax money.

  • AndyB

    Why doesn’t the Church’s insurance cover the cost of rebuilding, why the shortfall ?
    If my house is flattened I am covered for the rebuilding costs, why aren’t they?

  • sailor1031

    There are 700,000 supposed practising christians in NZ. If each one of them donated $46.00 (a paltry sum for the faithful surely – they could have their names inscribed on the bricks used to rebuild this turgid victorian monstrosity) they would have enough not only for the $10m they want from CC Council but also the $25m they currently plan on looting from the national treasury. I’m sure the catholics and others would be happy to help out in a spirit of ecumenism. I see no reason why they need any public money for this.
    But not to overlook how devious the Anglican church people are I see that back in August they were proposing to give this useless wreck to the Government of NZ. Such generosity.

  • 1859

    Here is irrefutable proof of the non-existence of god – the Christchurch earthquake struck in 2011, but the Parliamentary Bill legalising same sex marriage was passed in August 2013. The punishment came before the ‘crime’ – ergo, god’s deluded or doesn’t exist. I rest my case.
    Most people I know here in NZ couldn’t give a monkeys about the cathedral. People I’ve spoken to feel that rebuilding such a white elephant in a known earthquake zone makes about as much practical sense as trying to ride a kangaroo.