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200th Anniversary celebrations of Cathedral continue today

200th Anniversary celebrations of Cathedral continue today
The Very Reverend Otis Samuel Nichols

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The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the St George’s Cathedral continues today with a Day of Prayer at the historic building.

The Day of Prayer, which is being held under the theme ‘Prayer, Praise and Power’, began at 6 am and will continue until 6 pm.

200th Anniversary celebrations of Cathedral continue today
The St. George’s Cathedral

The 200th anniversary of the church was officially celebrated on Sunday, September 6 with morning and evening services at the Cathedral.

The Very Reverend Otis Samuel Nichols told SEARCHLIGHT this week that many of the activities planned for this year were affected as a result of COVID-19.

“A lot of the stuff that we had planned…the concert, St George’s Day celebrations, the recognition celebration in May, which was supposed to be held at Government House, all of these things were shelved and we then thought of ways and means whereby we could keep the anniversary in people’s minds,” he said.

This led to a series titled, “Cathedral Conversations”, where persons were invited to do two to three minute videos of their recollection of the Cathedral and what the anniversary meant for them.

Those videos can be viewed via the Church’s Facebook page and feature persons both in St Vincent and abroad, including renowned musician, Sean Sutherland.

Celebrations for the anniversary began in February of this year.

Nichols, who is the Dean of the Cathedral said several activities were able to take place before the pandemic affected plans.

And one of the most successful ventures of the celebrations has resulted in the award of two secondary school scholarships of $1500 per year for five years.

“The 200-day challenge…the idea as we conceptualised it was persons would think each day of something that they can be thankful for and once they can think of that, then they would put aside a dollar,” Nichols explained.

The challenge started on February 13 and ended on August 30.

The beneficiaries of these scholarships were from the Kingstown Anglican School and the Lowmans Leeward Anglican School, who were accepted into the Bishop’s College Kingstown.

One off bursaries of $500 were also given to other students.

From this venture, the Church was able to raise approximately $37,000 of its $40,000 aim.

But Nichols is confident that they will reach their goal as some persons are yet to submit their challenge savings.

Renovations of the building was included in the list of activities for the anniversary celebrations. However, the Church was served with an enforcement order by the Physical Planning and Development Board to halt repairs of the building.

The Church also received a letter in August 2018 from the St Vincent and the Grenadines National Trust, which declared that the Cathedral has been declared Protected National Heritage by the Trust in 2010, in order to ensure that “this building of architectural and cultural significance is preserved for posterity.”

The Dean said the church has written to Physical Planning and Development Board, outlining its understanding and position on the matter. But Planning has yet to respond.

Nichols said that as it stands, they are able to continue necessary renovations inside and will continue to work on its plans to renovate the 200-year-old building.

“Contrary to popular belief and knowledge, the church is not a listed building. It ought to be, but it is not, so National Trust has no legal relationship with the Cathedral,” he said.

Nichols also told SEARCHLIGHT that more activities to commemorate the cathedral’s anniversary are scheduled to take place later this year and in 2021.

This includes a series of virtual lectures scheduled for October and the anniversary concert, cocktail and reception in 2021.

And he thanked the persons in the congregation who continue to lend support and volunteer their time to making the celebrations a success.

“In terms of dedication and response in service, we could not want a better group of persons. I think that has to be one of the hallmarks of this 200th anniversary. We have had persons going at it over the years…and they continue to work to the glory of God,” the Dean of the Cathedral said.

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