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St. George’s Cathedral in need of restoration

St. George’s Cathedral in need of restoration

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The St. George’s Cathedral is in need of urgent restorative work.

When worshipers turned up for mass at the Anglican church in Kingstown on Sunday, May 24th, they were greeted by the sight of yellow caution tape cordoning off certain areas of the church and only half the usual number of pews in place downstairs.{{more}}

Dean of the Cathedral Patrick McIntosh told Searchlight that the entire gallery on the upper floor, including the choir loft is now out of bounds because of a bad case of termite infestation. The Dean said that the strength of the beams and rafters supporting the upper floor has been compromised, and on the advice of a structural engineer, the precautionary measure was taken. All areas on the ground floor underneath the balconies are also out of bounds. The church has therefore had its seating capacity reduced by two-thirds.

Dean McIntosh said that an emergency meeting of the Parish Church Council was held on Monday, May 25th, followed by a meeting of the Cathedral Chapter on Wednesday, and a decision was taken that a recommendation would be made to Bishop Leopold Friday that an entire restoration of the church be undertaken, not just a repair of the termite infested areas.

“We have a tremendous task,” the Dean told Searchlight, indicating that all the windows, the tower, both wings of the church and the roof would have to be worked on.

The 189-year-old church, which is the largest in the country, was dedicated on 1st September 1820, having been built at a cost of 47,000 pounds sterling. This is a far cry from the millions of dollars Dean McIntosh estimates the restoration work will cost.

He said that a committee will soon be set up to begin the work of letting people all over the world know what is happening and to raise funds.

Addressing the congregation after mass on Sunday, the Dean told the congregation “Nothing is impossible with God.” He advised members that the restoration project would call for church members to put their hands in their pockets and “dig deep”. In the style of the President of the United States Barack Obama, Dean McIntosh asked the congregation if they thought they could make it. He led them in their reply of: “Yes we can, yes we will!”

The Dean said until a final report is received from the structural engineer, church services will continue as usual at the Cathedral, however, the wooden balconies may have to be removed so that they do not pose a danger to persons entering the church.

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