Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit May 16, 2012 - 10:47 am

St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit pushes towards June 3 opening

“Hundreds and hundreds of people are coming in”

This is the skylight or
This is the skylight or "oculus" of the new St. Jude's Cathedral in Iqaluit — on June 3 the new cathedral will officially be dedicated. (FILE PHOTO)

If you’re in Iqaluit and feel some change rattling around in your pocket, head over to the Northmart and put your pennies into a blue barrel.

Your spare change can help the “penny push” fundraising effort for the new St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral, which is now close to completion.

“We’re pushing towards the opening now on June 3,” said Ed Picco, head of the cathedral’s rebuilding campaign.

The Arctic Anglican diocese continues to attempt to cover the $2.5 million shortfall remaining on the $8-million cost of the new cathedral, built to replace the former wooden cathedral, which was destroyed after an arsonist set fire to the building in November 2005.

Completing this ambitious igloo-inspired design has been a challenge design-wise— the company originally hired to furnish its wooden beams for the dome went out of business in 2009. That caused a plan for the new cathedral to be assembled from blocks of wood similar to snow bricks used in igloo-making to be scrapped.

Money issues have also complicated the reconstruction effort. The original building was only insured for $1 million – about $4 million less than its value.

Since then, the local fundraisers have raised more than $500,000, while another $4 million has come from supporters, with NCC Dowland, whose shareholders include Nunasi Corp., Qikiqtaaluk Corp., Sakku Investments Corp. and Kitikmeot Corp., agreeing to finish the cathedral while fundraising continues.

And, among the many expected to flock to Iqaluit as the cathedral pushes to completion: a 90-year-old Ottawa woman and donor who plans to visit Iqaluit with a group of friends the weekend before the cathedal’s dedication on June 3.

While the pews won’t likely be in the cathedral that day, the dedication ceremony is scheduled to move ahead at 10 a.m.

This will see Anglican bishops from across Canada come together for a service in the new building. There, they will bless the altar and the baptismal font and dedicate the new Bible in Inuktitut which was nearly 34 years in the making.

Later June 3, at 7 p.m., the Archbishop of Rupert’s Land — an administrative church area that includes the North — will consecrate the coadjutor bishop, who will take over as bishop of the Arctic diocese after Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk leaves later in 2012, and a new suffragan or assistant bishop.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people are coming in,” for these events, said Picco, who expects screens and sound equipment will allow the overflow crowd to see and hear the proceedings in the new cathedral from the Anglican parish hall.

Entrance to the dedication and consecration in the new cathedral will be on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, he said.

A community feast will also take place June 3.

The dedication and consecration ceremonies follow a meeting of the 150-member synod from Anglican parishes across the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Nunavik, which starts May 28 in Iqaluit. On May 30 they will elect a new bishop from a slate of four, yet-to-be announced, candidates, and then they will choose a suffragan bishop.

If you won’t be in Iqaluit to make a personal donation during the “penny push,” you can still send donations to St. Jude’s Rebuilding fund, Box 57, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0.

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