Firstly, congratulations to the Reverend Lynda Patterson who became the first female Dean of Christchurch, New Zealand in November 2013.
Revd Patterson’s stomping ground should be the iconic 19th Century built ChristChurch Cathedral but it is still not the building it once was. The devastating February 2011 earthquake destroyed the spire, part of the tower and inflicted severe structural damage.
Religion can be like theatre – the show must go on – and as with theatrical improvisation, the Anglican answer to the problem was to build a transitional cathedral, made from cardboard. The cathedral was designed by architect Shigeru Ban and it seats 700 people. The materials used in its construction include cardboard tubes, timber and steel. The dedication service was held on 15 August 2013.
As the Dean says in her welcome on the parish website: “Cathedrals usually stand as enduring monuments to human skill and inventiveness, and magnificent pointers to the presence of God among us. Their websites will tell you how they are the oldest, the largest, the tallest or the most significant of their kind. ChristChurch Cathedral is slightly different.”
It certainly is! And a well as being important in its own right, it is representative of the ingenuity, creativity and resilience of the Christchurch community.
Oh! And to bookend the theatrical allusion – there is an old saying in the theatre, “never work with animals or children”… Dean Patterson is having none of that – on Monday, December 23, at 3:00pm the Cardboard Cathedral will host the annual Children’s Christmas Service with Animals!
Rydges Latimer Christchurch is just a stroll down Latimer Square.