A lot changes in 150 years but people never do, St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral’s dean the Very Reverend Elizabeth Dyke says.
“They still search for God and need sacred spaces.
“That’s what this building is for, to be a place where people can find God, find companionship along the way, to pray and to mark the transitions and celebrations in their lives.”
The cathedral’s 200-strong congregation will start week-long 150th anniversary celebrations from Sunday.
It comes two years after the congregation returned to the cathedral. From 2009 the building was too unsafe to enter.
“We learnt a great deal about what it really means to be a Christian community when we were out of the building,” Dean Elizabeth said.
“When you come into a building like this it’s too easy to come in, sit down take communion and go out again without seeing people for the rest of the week.
“We brought back a new feeling of fellowship, of being family, of knowing and caring for one another.”
Two years later, the beloved building needs work.
“The current building challenge we’ve got is to make our church more accessible for people with mobility issues,” Dean Elizabeth said.
“As you can imagine, with all those steps at the front, that’s not the easiest thing to do.
“We are looking to put a new access in at the front with a nice, sloped and curving path that is easy to negotiate with a frame or wheelchair, as well as some better lighting on the steps.”
The other great challenge the building faces is the tower. Bells have been silent for years because the tower is not considered safe enough to ring them.
“It makes the tower move too much and it is unstable,” Dean Elizabeth said.
A large amount of money will need to be raised to fund the tower project, but any plans will have to wait.
“We need to recover from the difficulties of the work we had to do in here (inside the cathedral),” Dean Elizabeth said.
For now, the congregation is happy to celebrate 150 years.
Next week’s events will include a historical exhibition in the cathedral, sausage sizzles on Friday and services most days of the week.
The exact anniversary falls on Monday, when three services will be held to worship using an 1868 liturgy.
“We will be singing just the one hymn, but it is one that people worshipping 150 years ago would have known,” Dean Elizabeth said.
“And we will be using the old version of the scriptures. So it’s all ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ and ‘sayeths’ and what have you.”
What’s on at St Paul’s
11 November to 18 November: Historical exhibition in the cathedral
Sunday 11 November: Hymnal singalong and afternoon tea, 2pm until 4pm
Monday 12 November: Worship with 1868 liturgy
- Morning prayer, 9am
- Holy Communion, 12.30pm
- Evening prayer, 6pm
Wednesday 14 November: Holy Communion and light lunch, 10.30am
Friday 16 November: Sausage sizzle in cathedral courtyard, 4pm
Saturday 17 November: Celebration dinner at St Paul’s (ticketed)
Sunday 18 November:
- Celebration Eucharist with Bishop Matt and morning tea, 10am
- 6pm evensong – a quite, reflective service with the cathedral’s choir
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