Cathedral Redevelopment Fund – A Time To Build

“For everything there is a season.”

So said Qohelet, ‘the Preacher’, in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

I reckon our time to build has come. The roof is deteriorating. The work needs to be done; there is no gain in delaying. So, let’s put our shoulders to it. The hardest part is always getting started.

A building project is frightening. It is a big and costly undertaking. You can always think of better things to do with that much money. It is one of the reasons some African countries have such terrible roads. They have the money, but when they look at the cost of 1km of road they think they could use the money for better purposes—sometimes a house for themselves. The people go on suffering.

When I was developing a theological college in Africa it always seemed like catch-up. I would work hard on getting more students. Then we needed another teacher. Then it was another classroom. Then more books. And then more students again. The college was like a caterpillar with one leg dragging. Bring that leg forward and another would drag behind. Sooner or later building needs come around. We are at the point where we need to put some money into the building.

Earlier generations provided us with a beautiful place to meet and worship, as well as a prime location for community and civic function; we are beneficiaries of their generosity. Others added the hall, Deanery, and toilet block. It falls to us to restore the roof and make some improvements to the interior. You could call most of what we are needing to do ‘maintenance’. The Cathedral was built to be low maintenance. It has cost an average of $1,000 a year for the last 60 years, a ridiculously low amount for a cathedral. Of course, the roof has to be done in one hit. So, let’s bite the bullet and get it done.

The cost of Phase 1 is estimated to be $750,000. $500,000 for the roof and wall repairs, and $250,000 for improvements to electrics, lighting, acoustics, sound, audio-visual, heating, and cooling, and perhaps a cry room. We have broken down where we might find it.

Existing parish funds$50,000
Money from parish trusts$50,000
Heritage Council grant$40,000This is a matching grant, paid as invoices are issued.
Diocesan and other grants$250,000
Funding from ourselves$360,000An initial gift of $15,000 has already been received.

If 36 individuals/families/whatever were to give $10,000 we could pull it off. This would be more than many could do, but it gives an idea of the scale of the undertaking. Some could do more. There may be friends we are not aware of who would like to help. My suggestion is that we all sleep on it for a couple of weeks, and at the beginning of the next school term say what we think we can do. There are various ways of helping.

  • Outright gifts
  • A weekly, monthly, or annual amount over 3 years
  • An interest-free loan

We will ask people to indicate in writing what they would like to do. This will be between you and God. It will only be seen by the Treasurer and one of the Wardens. We will not ask for ‘pledges’. If the project doesn’t go ahead, we will not call on your contribution. If we do, what you do will obviously depend on your circumstances at the time.

The Cathedral Redevelopment has been adopted by the National Trust, making our donations tax deductible. Details to follow.

The big project—the Cathedral Precinct Redevelopment—can wait. The advantage in making the roof project part of a bigger plan is that it opens the way to substantial public funding. The roof needs to be dealt with mostly by ourselves; our commitment there will unlock other funds that will eventually enable a new community centre to be built.

The Fundraising Committee has met several times. A ‘Cathedral Redevelopment Fund’ has been established at the Diocesan Office to hold donations in trust for the Cathedral Redevelopment.

The Fundraising Committee: David Seccombe, Tony Critch, Garry Hamersley, Khim Harris, Greg Hall, Eugenie Harris.

“Cathedral Redevelopment Fund”: BSB 706 001. Account number: 30003846.


In Christ

David Seccombe