Opinion. It seems to me the Anglican Church has never grasped the importance of the building to the city writes Martin van Beynen at the conclusion of an opinion piece covering a range of earthquake recovery issues in The Press, Saturday March 22, 2014, C9
As I have said before, the building is the city’s most well- known structure in the most central part of the city. No building in the city links the past to the present as well as the cathedral or means so much to generations of Christchurch people.
You can put a flash new building in its place but it would be a lie. It would perpetuate the fiction the Anglican Church is still a power in the city and that it requires a huge facility for a supposedly thriving congregation. The truth is the church is fading quickly and most of its parishioners are dying.
The present cathedral was built at a time when Christchurch could genuinely call itself an Anglican city. Eventually it became more important to the city as a building than a place of worship.
After the earthquakes the church could have been a powerful force for improving morale and building community feeling. Imagine if it had expressed a determination to rebuild and called for volunteers. I for one would have prepared to give up Saturdays to push a wheelbarrow and pass blocks of stone to other willing and more expert hands.
I know this is unrealistic given the careful work needed to strengthen the building but you get the picture.
Instead the church has turned the cathedral into a point of division and rancour.
There is still time, however, for the church to see the error of its way and fulfil its duty to enhance the wellbeing of the people.