A few months ago Teresa and I had the privilege of a detailed visit to our Cathedral site. We went up the scaffolding for a look inside the building and then looked at some external wall work close up. Since then I am aware that some other groups, closely related to the project, such as the Chapter and CPT trustees, have had a similar opportunity. Such visits keep key groups in touch with the impressive reality of the progress we are making.
On a recent overseas trip Teresa and I visited seven cathedrals in the course of travelling to the USA and the UK. Our visits highlighted the significant roles cathedrals play in society. Each cathedral we visited is a centre for the spiritual life of the city and region it lies within. It is also true that each cathedral we visited is a magnet for visitors – whether international tourists or locals taking an interest in the significant places of their own community. Our Cathedral in the Square will again be a centre for the spiritual life of Christchurch and Canterbury. It will be a magnet for international and local visitors. We noticed, across the variety of locations for the cathedrals we visited, that the less central to a town or city the cathedral was, the fewer the visitors. We are blessed that our Cathedral sits in the very centre of our city. We can look forward to many visitors again.
Connecting with other cathedrals also underscored the importance cathedrals play in unifying the life of the church. Every cathedral, including ours, offers its Anglican diocese an important space to gather in, to bring people from across the many parish churches of the diocese to be one people of God. Such occasions may be an ordination, a synod service, or an annual service for a group or society. Our Cathedral has been a unifier for our Diocese since 1881 and I look forward to it playing that role again after we re-open its doors. The doors will also be open for gatherings which enhance the unity of our city, our province and our country.