And the Bishop says…..

And the Bishop says, “let us cultivate a garden of gratitude”.

May this post be the beginning of my garden of gratitude; the starting point for my thankfulness for our new Transitional Cathedral.

The approach from the South

The approach from the South

My post contains excerpts from the homily of Bishop Victoria Matthews, delivered at the opening service for Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral, on SundayΒ  evening, 1st September. The Cathedral was designed by international architect Shigeru Ban, and by Yoshie Narimatsu and Warren and Mahoney.Β  The photos accompanying the text were taken by me on a fleeting visit to the Cathedral last week. I hope that, through my photos, you will understand some of the serenity and peace, and beauty and inspiration that our new Cathedral provides. It is a blessing to, once again, have a space, a gathering place for contemplation and praise and heavenly music and song. And to have a haven that smells so deliciously of new cardboard boxes; that reminds one of the safety and fun of all those childhood castles built, and games played, with the humble cardboard box. πŸ™‚

Cardboard  Haven

Cardboard Haven

“First of all this cathedral is important because it is beautiful. In a city that is full of detours and demolished buildings; vacant lots and construction sites, beauty is incredibly important. Beauty reminds us that we must live into our potential. Beauty tells us to keep striving for excellence.

It is beautiful

It is beautiful

Secondly, this cathedral is a house of God. Cities need houses of prayer and places of worship, lest we ever think we are all there is to life. How very sad that would be. So whether it is the architecture, the music, the preaching or the prayer, a cathedral is meant to tell us that there is much more to life than we can see or even imagine and this is the place to start the search.

a house of God

a house of God

Thirdly, the Transitional Cathedral is clearly situated at the centre of the broken heart of this city. ……the cathedral stands as both a reminder of the past and a beacon calling us forward. I do think people need to be reminded of hope, faith and love, and that is what this cathedral does.

At the centre

At the centre (the floor was still being finished for the opening service when I took this photo.)

Hope, faith, love

Hope, faith, love

For the full text of the Homily please link here http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/9117919/Beauty-makes-cardboard-cathedral-important

For my earlier post on the Transitional Cathedral please link here https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/1116/

For a few details about our Bishop (from Canada) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Matthews

Β© silkannthreades

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73 thoughts on “And the Bishop says…..

  1. clarepooley33

    Wonderful post Ann! The triangular, trinity (may-be) Cathedral looks just right to me. A large and peaceful space in which to worship, pray, sit and marvel. In your comments a couple of people asked about the eagle lectern. Many churches have them don’t they? I believe that John the Apostle is represented by an eagle and that may have some thing to do with it.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Although the Cathedral is transitional, a great deal of thought was put into its design. It is full of symbolism, and connections to the former Cathedral. Thank you for pointing out that St John the Apostle is represented by the eagle. I don’t believe I knew that. Or if I did, I had forgotten. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Seeing the New and the Old | silkannthreades

  3. Clanmother

    Over the past few weeks, I have visited many church, cathedrals and places of worship. How fitting these words are:
    “Beauty reminds us that we must live into our potential. Beauty tells us to keep striving for excellence”

    Humanity desires to embrace a sacred journey. A marvelous post!

    Reply
  4. bentehaarstad

    What a beautiful cathedral, and interesting modern architecture. Here christianity is getting sort of old fashioned. I am not religious personally but I think the churches is a cultural heritage, and they are special. And important for so many people. Especially in critical times.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I definitely agree about the cultural heritage aspect of churches. With so many of our churches destroyed by the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, we lost a huge amount of our heritage. Even people who were only nominally Christian, or not religious at all, came to realise what a huge loss we had suffered in terms of our history and heritage.

      Reply
  5. teamgloria

    we adore a cathedral.

    vaunted ceilings and the pure voice of the floppy haired soprano who opens his mouth anxiously each morning after brushing his teeth to check he still has the voice of an angel.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, those pure voices πŸ™‚ My daughter, in her Cathedral Choir days, used to tell us the funniest tales about the shenanigans of those ‘angelic’ voiced choir boys. Which makes me wonder, that ,if a Cathedral is made of cardboard, will graffiti have to be pencilled in rather than carved on to appropriate surfaces? Naughty thoughts.

      Reply
  6. Virginia Duran

    I think the result of the new Cathedral is very positive. Shigeru Ban is an architect that I respect very much and he always provides thoughtful spaces. I like the warmth of the interior, given by the use of wooden materials (the structure looks like bamboo rods), the chairs and the big cross in front. Also, the shape (a triangle) is very meaningful and yet simple and pure. Loved the light inside and I think it’s powerful that it is opaque from the outside.
    In my opinion is a good building, but I haven’t been there. You’re opinion as a user is what matters and if it was inspiring to you, Shigeru Ban did a good job πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is a thoughtful space, indeed. And I think Shigeru Ban has also thought a great deal about the ‘users’ of the Cathedral and what we say we need and what we perhaps don’t know that we need. Already we have tourists coming for the specific purpose of seeing this latest work by Shigeru Ban; maybe you will see it one day too πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. Virginia Duran

        I have never been to Australia but would love to visit one day! And I know I will, so much history, landscape and architecture to discover… Be ready to have a lot of curious architects asking a lot of questions hehe. I find religious architecture quite interesting, I think how people get together inside will determine how “successful” the new cathedral is. Is going to be surprising to see how the space “evolves” with its use. You’ll get to experience that in first person, I will get to see it through your words and images πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Architecture is fascinating (and that’s from my non-architect’s perspective) and the world is full of wonderful architecture. Tonight, as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival, there is a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah in the Cathedral. And next Saturday the City Choir performs ‘Sounds Syncopated’: joyously jazzy rhythms from Bernstein to Missa Gaia The choirs and musicians have been missing a performance space with good acoustics; the Cathedral is allowing them to shine again.

  7. ordinarygood

    It is a fascinating structure and exudes such calm which we all in need in such abundance across so many parts of our personal and global lives right now.
    I love the “port-hole” style window.
    I do wonder about the comfort of the chairs and look forward to your report on those.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is so fascinating. In shape it reminds me of the early A line settlers huts and ,perhaps, the porthole is some reference to the first four ships. Although simple at first glance, the building is full of references and symbolism, as any good Cathedral should be. There is a lot for me to learn about this place, including how comfortable are the chairs!!!!!

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You are so right, Mrs. P; but we have been so long now (3 years ) without our old normalcy that it feels almost unreal to have something as normal as a Cathedral again!!!

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The Eagle Lectern comes from the old damaged Cathedral.It is made of carved oak and was the gift of Mrs Harper, wife of the first Bishop of Christchurch. I am not sure of its age but it must be well over a hundred years old. I was thrilled to be able to get so close to it. It’s beautiful. Most of the words in the post are quotes from our current bishop, Bishop Victoria Matthews; our first female Bishop πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. tiny lessons blog

    Congratulations on your new sanctuary! I love the clean, modern lines and the light in the building – it is truly beautiful! Garden of gratitude – what a beautiful concept. I’m trying to grow such a garden as well.

    Reply
  9. Heather in Arles

    We really can feel the peace and the offering of much needed hope that this cathedral provides. I think that they are important places, especially in an urban environment. While not a Catholic, there were several cathedrals that I would take refuge in while living in NYC and Naomi’s comment isn’t far from the truth! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I have found refuge and peace in many places of worship where prayers have seeped in to the very ground on which the building is placed; mosques, stupas, cathedrals, humble tiny churches. They give us sacred space, room to ‘be’, like the small church you found near your holiday ‘camp’. I am really looking forward to the completion of this Church too; I think it will be a lovely addition to our built environment http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/north-west/8626887/Church-plans-irk-rugby-club

      Reply
  10. vsperry

    I’m glad your city has a place to be peaceful and reflect. (Re)construction can be both exhilarating and exhausting and it’s nice to have a sanctuary from all of that.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is a sanctuary, indeed. You can see from the approach to the Cathedral how rough the surroundings still are! I like to think it is a little like it was when the first British settlers arrived.

      Reply
  11. Just Add Attitude

    The cathedral is indeed very beautiful. I love that you say that ‘there is so much more to life than we can see or even imagine …’ I so agree and I am very glad your post made me think on that. I am also pleased to hear that your city is rising again out of the sad rubble. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  12. coulda shoulda woulda

    Funny more modern churches don’t get proper design – its important to feel calm and peaceful in your surroundings…Those chairs look relatively comfy to sit and ponder. People might come for a look and then end up converted πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I have a small suspicion that ‘conversion’ might be part of the plan ;). It’s funny but I was so excited to be inside the Cathedral and taking pictures that I forgot to try out the chairs. I was cross with myself when I got home and realised that I hadn’t tried the chairs.The chairs in the Old Cathedral were so uncomfortable and horrid; it would be wonderful if these new ones are comfortable. Guess I will have to go back sometime…..

      Reply
  13. utesmile

    I remember the old post about it and now it is finished. Wow, I have to say from the outside I am not so impressed but stepping inside, I find it amazing. Light , high, cardboard, what a great idea and architecture. It had a warm and light feeling. It looks beautiful inside and I can imagine me sitting in there in quiet having a conversation with God. Love the chairs too and the height is impressive. Finally a great place to worship again. Beautiful pictures!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, Ute, finally it is finished! It has taken a while. The outside is interesting; almost like a tent or a temporary hut, on a large scale. But, inside, there is peace. I lit a candle, as I used to do in the old Cathedral. Many people were coming in to sit in quiet contemplation. There are little side chapels which are very simple and can be curtained off. I didn’t dare, but I wanted to touch a lot of the surfaces; they seemed soft and warm like a security blanket πŸ™‚

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Me too, Ute. In the old Cathedral I used to wear a coat and gloves and layers of clothing, especially in winter, or to a night service. It’s really nice to have a warm place to worship.

  14. Sheryl

    The Cathedral is a beautiful and inspiring building. And, I’m in awe that the columns are made of cardboard. I never would have guessed that cardboard is sometimes used in buildings for its acoustical properties.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is a strange concept, isn’t it? But, for me, it works. Shigeru Ban is an amazing architect and I love looking at photos of his work all over the world.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That is the case for many. But this transitional place is utterly serene and there is a feeling of standing solidly on sacred ground, which it is, of course. It was a mission to negotiate the streets to get there, so once inside, I felt a shedding of frustration and a sense of peace.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is extraordinary. I am glad you came to read this post. I was thinking that it would be a peaceful place for you after writing your post on Syria. Did you notice that our Bishop is Canadian?

      Reply
  15. YellowCable

    I like the architecture of the design. The shape of the cathedral reminds me of the chapel at my elementary school. The roof structure seems to be built from columns of hollow woods. Are they just serve as supporting or they do serve for other function as well (such as sound etc.)? Yes, that is a beauty.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The columns (in the roof space) are made of cardboard tubes but there is also some sort of internal strengthening of the columns. The Cathedral is very quiet so I think the cardboard must have some sound proofing qualities but, interestingly, performers report that the acoustics in the Cathedral are excellent. The mysterious qualities of cardboard! Who knew?

      Reply

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