Saturday, March 2, 2024

Big plans to restore Cathedral

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A GLOBAL DRIVE is to be launched to aid in the restoration of St Michael’s Cathedral.
Chairman of the Diocesan Trustees, Hartley Richards, told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday: “The project will be launched as a global thing because we are going to do it not only in Barbados but also outside so that we can benefit from any contributions which Barbadians outside Barbados can make.”
The dilapidated state of the local flagship of the Anglican diocese, with several broken windows, termite-infested floors, pews and kneelers, leaking roof, and peeling paint from its coral stone walls, has been a cause of concern for many.
The Diocesan Trustees are targeting Barbadians in the diaspora for assistance in the funding of the multimillion-dollar project aimed at restoring the Cathedral to its former glory. This is expected to be supplemented by local fund-raising.
Various figures for the cost of restoration have been bandied about, and though Richards was not prepared to speculate, he said that elsewhere a figure of around $2 million had been projected almost two years ago.
He added: “Figures have been mentioned between three to ten million dollars”, and stressed that it would be a major project since renovations were “very expensive”.
But he asserted: “The Cathedral is our flagship as far as church buildings go, and so we all have serious concerns that we have to do something to make it look like a building that human beings would want to congregate in for praise to God.”
There is a legally established Cathedral Restoration Foundation headed by Queen’s Counsel Sir Richard Cheltenham and including the Bishop of Barbados Dr John Holder and the dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Frank Marshall.
However, Richards said the Diocesan Trustees assumed responsibility for renovation of the Cathedral “some time ago”, and have since commissioned the architectural firm Design Collaborative and other professionals to look at what needed to be done.
He said the Diocesan Trustees had received a first report on what needed to be done, “and we have decided to do it in phases as recommended by the architects”.
The first phase will be the repairing of the chancel, where there is a major leak that forces the choir to vacate one section of the choir stalls when it rains.
Two years ago, the dean had unveiled plans for an outreach programme designed to re-establish the coral stone building as the centrepiece of a redeveloped Bridgetown.
Marshall’s predecessor Dean William Dixon had also initiated a restoration programme in 2003.

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