Friday, May 18, 2012

The Cathedral

The Cathedral.

Press, Volume III, Issue 97, 3 January 1863, Pages 1 and 7

Christ Church Cathedral, Christchurch

The Subscription List which we publish to-day to the Fund for building the Cathedral may be recorded as a remarkable fact in the history of Canterbury. It is just twelve years since the colonists first landed on these shores, and the sum which has now been set aside towards the erection of a Cathedral Church, would probably, were the truth known, represent a very large part of the whole of the capital introduced by the first settlers in 1850.

There is something so remarkable in the subscription list swelling up to upwards of Ten Thousand Pounds in one week after it was commenced in Christchurch, as to call for thought and comment.

Colonists are no more reckless of their worldly goods than other persons. They are indeed liberal in responding to all claims, because they have the means to give, and like the luxury of giving. But the subscriptions to the Cathedral so far exceed all ordinary limits of prudence in giving, as to show that the cause has sank very deep into the hearts of many of the people.

We believe that the sense of the magnitude of the work, and the consciousness that, if it is to be done at all, it can only be done by very exertions, is one reason which has opened the purse strings to their fullest limit. But the main reason, we think, lies in the sense which is very generally felt that this settlement has been, and is, most peculiarly favored by Providence. For absence of sweeping diseases amongst man and beast, for absence of disasters and losses in trade, for security from foreign foes and domestic disturbance, for rapid accumulation of wealth and of all the comfort which wealth brings in its train, we really know of no community which can tell of a first twelve years of its life so vigorous and so healthy as Canterbury. It is not a matter to boast of. Our prosperity has arisen more from external circumstances than from our own labors. It is a matter to be told with the thankfulness of Christian men whose lines have fallen in pleasant places. And it is natural and wise, and very right, that a community so favored should desire to rear up in its midst a glorious monument in grateful remembrance of almost unexampled blessings.

It is peculiarly rational that Canterbury should do this. Canterbury was founded as a standing witness to the truth, that "man does not live by bread alone but by the word of God." It was established in the belief that a community is elevated by its righteousness and faith; that righteousness preserveth a nation."

The founders of Canterbury never fancied, as we used to be told, that there was any peculiar virtue in religion as a sentiment or a fashion, or in a party form of Church government, but they knew that if you wished to get men of a religious frame of mind, men who love virtue and hate vice, men who reverence honor and despise fraud and wrong doing, they knew that if you would attract such men to a colony, you must enable them to bear with them to their new homes the ordinances and external forms of the faith of their fathers. And if we are asked, why wish to attract such men at all? We answer — because we know that they are better men; better for everything in the battle of life, better colonists, better bush men, better a thousand times better fathers and founders of a new people. It was this which the founders of Canterbury thoroughly believed. They believed verily that the righteous are the salt of the earth, and that the more good men and true who pervade a community, the more vigorous will be the life which that community will exhibit.

Shall we, then, recoil from the conclusion of our logic? or shrink from the witness which time has revealed to the truth of our anticipations? Shall we say that the principles in reliance on which Canterbury was established have had no influence on the result which has been achieved? Or shall we be thought presumptuous if we claim the fulfilment of our hopes as their justification? We must do so. In a thousand unseen ways we recognise the relation existing between the prosperity of Canterbury and the first character which was impressed on it by its founders, especially by its single minded and high souled leader.

The purity of its political atmosphere alone is a striking fact. Whilst in other provinces the papers have been filled with mutual recriminations of party and faction, with charges of bribery and personation, here such corrupt doings have never been heard of.

Where again in other provinces political quarrels have been carried into private life until the whole pleasure of society has been destroyed, here the struggles of party have been kept within the bounds of civilised usage. And above all, here more than elsewhere, the claims of superior intelligence and education and worth, have to an unusual degree been recognised in the popular elections.

The prosperity of Canterbury has been in no small degree influenced by these facts. Now the Cathedral is regarded by many as the great thank-offering and testimony of the province to Almighty God for the fulfilment of hopes which were based on faith in the power of religious feeling to elevate and preserve human society. This building will be to us the stones of testimony, the witness that our Jordan is passed and our work so far done.

General as is the assent to this great work it is not unanimous. There are those who think that the building of the Cathedral is yet premature. We thought so too, a few weeks ago; we never ventured to hope that the people would have grappled with so great a work as they have now undertaken. We advocated building a parish church, at a cost of four or five thousand pounds but we confess that we alogether undervalued the strong desire of the majority to see the nobler building commenced. However, we are satisfied the few who still object to the Cathedral will very shortly unite in the work. Some of course will never lend a helping hand, and it is a curious page in the history of human nature which records the various reasons which different men give to justify their refusal to unite in any great work. With many such reasons are the excuses which the conscience uses to hide stinginess from itself and the world. We have heard but one real excuse for withholding aid. It is that the want of present church accommodation is so pressing, that we ought to provide for that, before laying out our money in the greater work.

In the first place, since the meetings out of which this movement commenced, it has been obvious that the pressing need for additional church room was somewhat over-rated. Now that the two churches are pretty equally used, now that St. Luke's is fairly filled, there is found to be far more real accommodation for all than was thought. Still we are quite satisfied that it will be far easier to collect funds for the temporary enlargement of the present buildings now that the public are satisfied that the great and permanent work is in hand.

It would be easy to show that the real limit to church accommodation has arisen from our having relied on petty temporary expedients, and that the steps now taken will do more to solve the difficulty, and that even more quickly, than any smaller measure. Again, we are told that we cannot do this work. Look at Sydney! How long has Sydney been building a Cathedral. Even now, we believe, not finished or paid for. Look at Melbourne, with ten times our wealth, Melbourne has no Cathedral. We answer, so much the worse for Melbourne and Sydney. It is not in this stage of our life that we are to take Melbourne or Sydney for models of what is right or necessary in politics or in church matters.
There have always been men who used this argument here. We remember when the few poor pilgrims who landed at Canterbury were objects of supreme contempt to the men of colonial experience who came to spy out the nakedness of the land. We remember the prophesies of their bankruptcy and their disappointment, and how, when they had spent all their money in fanciful experiments, the old hands were to step into their heritage and reap the fruits of their labours. But, somehow, the pilgrims are not wiped out from the face of Canterbury. Somehow their runs are as well managed, and their farms as well tilled, and their shops and stores as well stocked with goods, as those of the men of colonial experience. Somehow, whether it be in politics, in successful aspirations to offices of Government, in public meetings and assemblies, or in any form in which the public mind is influenced, the old men of Canterbury — the pilgrims — have never yet been in the back ground. And so it was likely it would be, for England does not often produce dreamy enthusiasm without underlaying it with a solid stratum of energy and perseverance which disappoints the prophets of evil. We have yet to learn that the stuff produced by the colonies can beat the material which is turned out of the shop home. We did not look to Melbourne or Sydney for the principles on which this settlement should be founded, and we do not look with very much reverence on the examples they now afford us. Indeed, an example of having done some great thing may ever be reasonably set up as a claim for respect; but how an example of having left undone a thing which ought to be done can be quoted as worthy of imitation, we cannot imagine.

In conclusion we would urge upon those conscientious Churchmen who still stand aloof, that there in a form of narrowness and meanness in the human mind which it is very easy to elicit. Those who conscientiously refuse to join in building the Cathedral because they do not think it the best thing which can be done, had better beware how they are but furnishing excuses to those who do not care whether any thing be done at all and how they are depriving themselves of the privilege of joining in a noble work.

There are many who will join a unanimous movement, who would be ashamed to be left out of a comprehensive list, and yet who would be glad to have the example of a good man for keeping their money in their pocket. All great works demand unanimity. We must all give up something of our peculiar crochets to achieve any thing great or lasting. The building of the Cathedral is not premature if it can be done; and it is now fully evident that it can and will be done. Those who argue that it is premature after the commencement which has been made, can care but little whether they see its completion or not. For our part we not only hope that it will be done, but rejoice that our own eyes may yet live to see it.

An early view of Cathedral Square, Christchurch

Christchurch Cathedral
Cathedral Commission

The Lord Bishop of Christchurch.
[Henry John Chitty Harper]

His Honor Mr Justice Gresson
[Henry Barnes Gresson]

The Venerable the Archdeacon of Akaroa
[Octavius Mathias]

The Rev. Henry Jacobs

The Rev. J. Wilson

Alfred Charles Barker, Esq.

Alfred Cox, Esq.

Edward Dobson, Esq.

James Edward Fitzgerald, Esq.

William John Warburton Hamilton, Esq.

Richard James Strachan Harman, Esq.

Grosvenor Miles, Esq.

The Cathedral Commission appointed by the Synod of the Diocese of Christchurch, has decided to make a public appeal for subscriptions towards the building of the Cathedral.

The very general and warm approval with which the proposal to begin this great work has been greeted by the public, has convinced the Commission that the time has arrived when they may make this appeal with a certain prospect of success.

It is true indeed that that this great undertaking cannot be carried through by a single impulse, but it is hoped that the interest which has been now excited will be not only lively, but lasting and sustained. It is true that it will call for unusual efforts, and sacrifices of no ordinary kind, and those extending over a considerable term of years; for though a comparatively short time may suffice for the erection of a portion of the building capable of accommodating a large number of worshippers, several years must necessarily elapse before we can expect to see the complete structure stand before us in all its grandeur and beauty. Still, so great and enobling a work may well be deemed worthy of every sacrifice; and while such great efforts are being made by us to accomplish vast under-takings for convenience and utility, we shall surely be ashamed to grudge expense or exertion on the attempt to raise up one worthy Temple in the midst of us for the workup of our Creator, and as a witness to His Holy Name.

The purposes of a Cathedral are manifold. Amongst these are that it is:

1. A perpetual and conspicuous witness to tie presence and majesty of the most Holy Trinity.

2. The Church of the diocese, where the Bishop's cathedra or chair is placed, and therefore representing a branch of the great Christian Society in its complete organisation of Bishop, Clergy, and People.

3. A central place of worship for the Diocese and for strangers, where all the seats are free for ever, and where none may feel that they are intruding on parochial rights. As the Central Church of the Diocese, it represents the Unify, and as open to all strangers, the Universality of the Christian Church.

4. A sacred edifice, adapted in size and dignity for the performance of specially Episcopal functions, such as that of Ordination, and for the assembling together of large numbers of the people on occasions of more than ordinary solemnity.

5. A Sanctuary, where Prayer may be daily offered, and the highest office of our Religion weekly celebrated, that so the fire of devotion may be rekindled from day to day, the incense of prayer and praise never cease to be offered up in the name and on behalf of the Diocese at large, and while the inhabitant of the City and its neighbourhood may reap the fruit of these blessings continually, the sojourner of a day or of a week may thankfully embrace the occasional opportunities, which nothing but this constant circle of holy services could with certainty provide.

It has been decided after much consideration to adhere to the site already set apart in Cathedral Square.

Complete plans for the whole Cathedral by Mr. Gilbert Scott are in the hands of the Commission and they have determined to adhere rigidly to a design which is worthy of the great name of its author.

It has been decided to commence with building the Nave, as being that part of the whole structure which can be the most speedily erected, and will accommodate the largest numbers in proportion to its cost. On the most accurate estimate that can be obtained, it has been calculated that the cost of building the whole Nave with sittings for one thousand persons, will amount to about twenty thousand pounds. This estimate, whilst not pretending to detailed accuracy, may be relied on as representing the outside sum which will be necessary to complete the Nave, with the temporary East Front and Chancel fittings; the Chancel Choir and Transepts, together with the whole of the tower above the basement remaining as an object for future efforts.

Refunds already in hand do not exceed £1800, made up principally of the sum of £1000, reserved for this purpose out of the grant of ten thousand pounds for Church Building, voted by Legislature of the Province in the year 1858, and about £700, the amount of subscriptions obtained in England through Mr. FitzGerald.

It is confidently anticipated that the public will respond to this appeal with an unwonted liberality. The present is a great Church Building age, and Englishmen especially are becoming more and more accustomed to increase their sacrifices and self-denying exertions to accomplish great works of a sacred character. The people of this province especially, it may be hoped, will regard their Cathedral as an appropriate thank-offering to Almighty God for the great and unexampled measure of prosperity which it has enjoyed from it foundation. Those among us on whom God has bestowed wealth will, it is hoped, give back to Him, for the sake of erecting a Temple worthy of His Name, with an open and generous hand, as He has given to them. Already, in more than one case which might be mentioned, large sums have been offered. Let the same liberality be shewn by all in proportion to their means, and then there will be no difficulty in raising even more than the amount required.

By spreading the payment of the subscriptions, as it is proposed to do, in the case of those who prefer it, over a term of years, many will be enabled to offer sums which they could not otherwise have dreamed of.

Let it be remembered that the Cathedral is the work of the whole Diocese, and let a great and united effort be made, and we shall accomplish, under the blessing of Almighty God, a work which will impress its character on this rising people, will be the glory of our Metropolis and Province, and will be pointed at with just pride by our children's children, as a standing memorial of the Christian faith and zeal of the founders of their country.

The Cathedral, Christchurch, NZ.

Subscriptions will be received by every member of the Commission and by all the Bankers in the Diocese.

The following subscriptions have been already promised.— [Except where otherwise particularly specified in the following list, all subscriptions will be payable by equal instalments, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly, spreading over five years. The first instalment will be called for on the 3lst March, 1863.]

In hand £1759 19 1

The Lord Bishop, £50 yearly for life, equal to 500 0 0
The Ven. Archdeacon Mathias, £20 yearly for life, equal to 100 0 0
Lyttelton Times 500 0 0
Mr. John Bealey 500 0 0
Mr. Samuel Bealey 500 0 0
Messrs. Lance 250 0 0
Mr. Alfred Richard Creyke 100 0 0
Mr. Tombs 100 0 0
Mr. Hawkes 100 0 0
Dr. Barker 100 0 0
Mr. Heywood 100 0 0
Mr. Luck (in ten years) 200 0 0
Mr. FitzGerald 250 0 0
Mr. Harston 100 0 0
The Rev J. Wilson 100 0 0
Mr. Wylde 100 0 0
Mr. Richard James Strachan Harman 100 0 0
Dr. Stedman 100 0 0
Mr. Davie 100 0 0
Mr. Maude 100 0 0
Mr. Inwood 100 0 0
Messrs. Packer & Son 100 0 0
The Rev. H. Jacobs 100 0 0
The Hon. H. Tancred 100 0 0
Mr. Strickland Field 50 0 0
Mr. James Field 50 0 0
Mr. Cass 50 0 0
Mr. Browning 50 0 0
Mr. Back 50 0 0
Miss Skillicorn 50 0 0
Mr. H. B. Johnstone 100 0 0
Mr. Thomas Rowley 200 0 0
Mr. D. Innes 500 0 0
The Rev. W. Willock 50 0 0
Mr. Willis 50 0 0
Mr. Charles Reed 100 0 0
Dr. Turnbull 50 0 0
Mr. Frederick Thompson 50 0 0
Mr. Charles Turner 100 0 0
Mr. Dampier 100 0 0
Dr. Parkerson 100 0 C
Mr. J. Studholm 200 0 0
Mr. Ollivier (in two years) 50 0 0
Mr. Brooke 50 0 0
Mr. Sprot 100 0 0
Dr. Donald 50 0 0
Mr. J. Ladbrooke 50 0 0
Mr. Joseph Brittan 100 0 0
His Honor Mr. Justice Gresson 500 0 0
Mr. Grosvenor Miles 250 0 0
Rev. G. Cotterill 50 0 0
Mr. C. Bowen 50 0 0
The Rev. H. Harper 50 0 0
Mr. C. B. Blakiston 50 0 0
Captain Westenra 50 0 0
Mr. Hamilton Ward (for first year) 20 0 0
Mr. Bethel Ware 25 0 0
Messrs. Wood 100 0 0
Mr. F. C. Stewart 100 0 0
Mr. H. E. Alport 50 0 0
Messrs. De Bourbel and Willes 200 0 0
Mr. Dann 25 0 0
Mr. Bishop 25 0 0
Mr. Hobbs 25 0 0
Mr. Ell 100 0 0
A Churchman 100 0 0
Mr. Stringer 100 0 0
Mr. Coates 50 0 0
Mr. Charles Torlesse (first year) 20 0 0
Mr. G. Allen (in three years) 50 0 0
Messrs. Porter 50 0 0
Mr. C. Wright 25 0 0
Mr. C. C. Bowen 50 0 0
The Rev. C. Bowen 50 0 0
Miss Bowen 50 0 0
Mr. Buchanan 50 0 0
Mr. Robert Chapman 50 0 0
Mr. G. Willmer 100 0 0
Mr. H. Lowther 25 0 0
Mr. A. R. Blakiston 50 0 0
Mr. Cuff 50 0 0
The Rev. C. Alabaster 25 0
Mr. T. Raine 25 0 0
Mr. Marley 50 0 0
Mr. Wagstaff 25 0 0
Mr. Palmer 100 0 0
Mr. W. G. Brittan 100 0 0
Mrs. Caverhill 50 0 0
Mr. Francis Slater 100 0 0
Mr. J. Burke 100 0 0
Mr. G.Gordon 10 0 0
Mr. H. Montgomery 100 0 0
Mr. W. Montgomery 100 0 0
Mr. J. Colborne Veel 50 0 0
Mr. N. Edgar 25 0 0
Mr. C. Bridge 25 0 0
Mr. C. Bonnington 25 0 0
Mr. J. Collins 25 0 0
Messrs. T. and E. Pavitt 100 0 0
Mr. J. Hughes 25 0 0
Mr. James Hair 25 0 0
Mr. C. W. Beswick 25 0 0
Mr. J. Beswick 25 0
Mr. C. E. Minchin 100 0
Mr. G. Inwood 50 0
Mr. W. Neeve (in two sums) 50 0 0
The Misses Lowther 50 0 0
Mr. W. Wilson 25 0 0

Cathedral Square, Christchurch, NZ

Cathedral Square, Christchurch

The Cathedral, Christchurch

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