The Cathedral is going to look very different for a period, as though it has a hat on! But in reality, the new roof we can see over the centre of the transept (where the two axes of the building intersect) is a wonderful sign of progress. Under its protection we can open up the slate roof and begin to work our way, safely, from the top downwards to remove stone from the arches and columns. By de-risking the obvious dangers within the interior of a stone building, we will have a safe building for our team to begin reinstatement work. More simply, we have nearly finished stabilisation, and the beginning of actual reinstatement is in sight.
All this is happening against the extraordinary background of a disturbing 2022. Six months ago, a war in Ukraine was not on the radar; many of us thought that we could beat Covid via the long Auckland lockdown; and inflation was far from a crisis. Like me, six months ago you might even have held the view that 2022, finally, was going to be a good year. A year with some kind of calm normality to it. How little we knew. Yet the awful challenges of this year highlight the significance of the Cathedral for our city and our country. In this wonderful sacred space, once reinstated, we will be able to pray, especially for the situations such as Ukraine today, which we feel helpless to change through our own efforts. In contemplation, perhaps in silence, perhaps with inspiring choral music reverberating around us, we will be able to quieten our anxieties about present crises and draw spiritual strength to engage with the challenges we face in our society.
At this Eastertide, it is possible to draw encouragement to hope for a better tomorrow for our world because of the extraordinary story of Jesus Christ, who died, was buried, and then was raised from death to new life. On such hope, our Cathedral is founded.