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Media Statement from Rt Rev’d Victoria Matthews

Media Statement from Rt Rev’d Victoria Matthews

The Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Rev’d Victoria Matthews made the following statement to the Diocesan Synod in the Transitional Cathedral at the conclusion of the Synod Eucharist.

I stand here this evening pleased to make an announcement about progress on the future of ChristChurch Cathedral in the Square.

The Diocese and the Church Property Trustees (CPT) have been concerned at the time it has taken to confirm the plan to return to ChristChurch Cathedral in the Square.

Just to restate our situation: we own 290 buildings of which 230 were damaged. The Cathedral in the Square has caused the biggest media frenzy. In the midst of many people telling us how to proceed, we have not wanted disproportionate resources focused on the Cathedral especially when we have wider responsibilities in Christian leadership. We must remember the many people who still reside and work in badly damaged buildings, those whose lives were irrevocably changed by injuries caused by the quakes, and those who lost loved ones.

But we are also aware that indecision about the future of ChristChurch Cathedral is having a significant effect on the re-birth of Christchurch from the centre outward.

A CPT delegation discussed these matters with government ministers. The Government responded by making a generous offer of an independent consultant who will engage with the experts representing both the Church Property Trustees and the Great Christchurch Building Trust. The Government does acknowledge the need for a safe and liturgically appropriate worship space whilst recognising the city’s need for an identifying symbol in Cathedral Square.

CPT has agreed to participate on the proviso that it is not financially responsible for the cost of the consultant or any outcomes.

It is my hope and commitment that before Christmas we will know the details about the future of ChristChurch Cathedral as well as the larger Diocesan recovery plan.


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