Cathedral News September 2007
From Wellington Cathedral of St Paul
From the Dean
A Heritage Listing?
Some time ago the Cathedral was notified that it is on the list to receive a heritage listing from the Wellington City Council. The first flush of pleasure at having our wonderful sacred space recognised and honoured in this way rapidly changed to concern as the implications of such a listing became apparent. Extra hoops are raised and restrictions placed even on such simple things as improving existing signage. A careful written submission was made months ago. Just this week a Cathedral delegation fronted up to an inquisition-like sitting before Commissioners and Council officials to make our case for opposing the listing. While we came away feeling we had been heard and listened to, it is a case of ‘watch this space’. Part of our submission (made by the Dean) can be found overleaf.
As most of you will know Max Kenworthy will soon leave the employ of the Cathedral and the seat in the organ loft he has been keeping so warm for the past five years. I wish to put on record my appreciation for Max and his playing in the three years I have known him, and invite you, as members of the Cathedral, to join us at Evensong on Sunday 16th September and afterwards, to say thank you to Max. (The Cathedral Wardens will be very happy to collect contributions towards a farewell gift for Max.) We are very fortunate to have Richard Apperley signed up to return to the Cathedral in late October. Richard is a former organ scholar, presently Assistant Organist at Lincoln Cathedral. Cathedral Choir members come and go often without being noticed in their robes of disguise. But we shall most certainly miss Jane Deighton in the line-up of sopranos when she relocates to Brisbane.
David Major has just been appointed National Director of the Prison Chaplaincy Service. At an impressive and moving service in the Great Hall of Parliament David was commissioned and encouraged to be diligent in his role as steward, servant and bridge-builder. Pray for David, the chaplains he works with, and those to whom they minister – inmates, family and prison staff alike. Pray too for those who must make difficult decisions within our justice system.
New Zealand’s Anglican Archbishops have launched an online petition – part of an appeal for mercy in the case of Ali Panah. You can read more on the Anglican Church’s Social Justice website http://justice.anglican.org.nz Clergy at Wellington Cathedral will toll a bell each week-day at noon – a call to prayer for people like Ali who languish in the no-man’s land of the refugee, and those who make decisions on their lives.
As I write we are preparing for the bi-annual Anglican Schools service in the Cathedral. Young people from most of our church schools will be here to worship following a sea theme. The Cathedral’s own ministry to and from young people grows apace, and it is good to see the young adults getting stuck in with moving chairs and gathering after worship. All strength to the Youth Choir, the Youth Group and the Young Adults – not forgetting the feeder service offered by that aptly named group of parents with young children – Bumps and Babes!
As winter gives way to spring, the Lady Chapel has emerged resplendent in its new coating of paint, just as the daffodils planted after this year’s Day of Giving begin to bloom.
God bless, keep and guide you in all justice, love and mercy.
Cathedral Submission on Heritage Listing (abridged)
We do not propose to dwell on points already made in our previous written submission – v the limitations and restrictions that a heritage listing would impose on the Cathedral as a ‘work in progress’ v the specific restrictions on any additions and/or alterations to which the Cathedral is already subject under Canon Law v the ever changing nature of public worship, and, in our opinion, the very subjective interpretation of the term ‘heritage value’
The motivation for this further verbal submission comes out of our understanding of Christianity and the unique role of a cathedral.
A cathedral is a sacred space of meeting, it is tapu, a sanctuary, a place where people commune with God and each other. Stretching back into the dimmest reaches of history there has always been tension between which comes first, the building (the place) or the people. The word ‘church’, so often used to describe a building, rightly describes the people, the gathered community of believers and worshippers.
Christianity is not a static religion. It is not simply the holding to a set of rules. It is about a journey, the following of Jesus Christ.
Both the written Scriptures and the lived faith of generations of Christian people suggest an ever-changing dynamic as people seek to express eternal truths in a contemporary and meaningful way. One need only look at some of the great historic cathedrals in England, built over hundreds of years, to see that liturgy, architecture, art and music are among these expressions that encapsulate both a sense of the past (‘heritage value’ if you like) and the striving to stay faithful to the call of Jesus Christ today.
As both Committee and Cathedral acknowledge, the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul stands today as one born of a long gestation, not without its difficulties, frustrations, squabbles and stumbles. We are proud of the Cathedral and recognise fully the significance of where it stands, and what it stands for – in the eyes of a number of different stake-holders in both church and diocese, and city and nation.
Like all church buildings within the Anglican Diocese of Wellington the Cathedral is subject to some fairly tight rules and guidelines. Legal ownership is vested with the Trustees of the Diocese of Wellington; and falls clearly within the scope of the Diocesan Cathedral Act 1992 and the Diocesan Properties and Faculties Act 1972. The Cathedral Vestry, which is charged with the day to day running of the Cathedral and its maintenance, simply cannot make arbitrary changes of a lasting nature without careful consultation with, and permission from, the Diocese.
The Cathedral, as part of the Anglican Diocese of Wellington, is a non-profit organisation. As is well documented the Cathedral has been built at considerable emotional and financial cost to the people who use the Cathedral – namely the members of the congregation past and present. While the generous support of various civic groups is openly and gratefully acknowledged, the vast majority of the money needed to build the Cathedral came from Anglicans, both Cathedral members and the Diocese as a whole. In this sense alone it is their building.
With a current assessed value of $35million it is extremely unlikely either that present and future congregations would be able to significantly altar the ‘sequence and general form’ of the Cathedral, or that, in the event of a catastrophe such as earthquake or fire, the Wellington City Council, Historic Places Trust or any other body would come up with the money to rebuild the Cathedral in its present form. The Cathedral congregation certainly could not.
Wellington Cathedral will resound to the sound of Langlais's music over the weekend 7 - 9 September 07. Renowned international organist Colin Walsh will give recitals and masterclasses. The Cathedral Choir will be joined by the Auckland Cathedral Choir and the NZ Brass for a concert on Saturday night, and the choirs will sing Messe Solenelle on Sunday morning. Follow the link for more detail. Langlais
Raymond Pelly will lead a Quiet Evening on Sunday 2nd September beginning with Evensong at 5.00 pm. See flyer on Entrance table.
- Theme: Seeking God and Balance with St Benedict
- Conductor: Frank Nelson (Dean of Wellington)
- Date: 5.30pm Friday 26th – 3.00pm Sunday 28th October
- Venue: Star of the Sea, Seatoun
- Cost: $175.00
This is a residential retreat for (primarily) Cathedral people. The weekend is based on spending time together in worship, a series of talks and silence. There are 16 single rooms available. All meals included.
Son et Lumiere
A very exciting season of Son et Lumière is playing in Old St Paul’s from 13th to 16th September. First performed in 1975, this production brings a modern touch to the original script. The additions include the Cathedral Voices with an organist and actors portraying recorded voices from the past.
Tracing the vivid history of Thorndon and Old St Paul’s, Son et Lumière will synchronise dynamic lighting, sound and live music to dramatise the life of this beautiful building.
Door sales at Old St Paul’s in advance and before each performance at 7.30 pm.
City Mission Foodbasket
Thank you to all who contribute week by week. Please continue your generosity to support those in need!
From the Registers
- Ellen Yarrow & Dean Pemberton
- Kirsty White & Rene Kleyne
- Jessica Heine & Steven McLennan
- Edward Harding
Cathedral News Archive
Past editions of the cathedral news are available here.