By André Forget
St. Jude’s Cathedral, in Iqaluit, was destroyed by arson in 2005 and rebuilt in 2012, but the debt incurred still sits at $1.27 million. Photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of the Arctic
While St. Jude’s Cathedral now stands proudly in central Iqaluit, the debt incurred in building it stands at $1.27 million, according to Darren McCartney, suffragan bishop for the diocese of the Arctic, an amount that significantly inhibits the diocese’s ability to go about its mission.
For this reason, and because of its extensive and long-standing relations with Anglicans from the Arctic, Christ Church Cathedral in the diocese of Ottawa held a fundraiser on March 21 at its new parish hall building to bring in money to retire the debt.
Leslie Worden, who is involved with the Anglican of Church Women Canada (ACW) and who helped to organize the event, said that despite poor weather, around 100 people came out to a screening of the documentary Soul of the Arctic, produced by Northern-Ireland television network UTV. The documentary chronicles McCartney’s journey from being a priest in Northern Ireland to being a bishop in the Arctic.
“People always want to know about the North,” said Worden, “and there’s not that much I know how to tell them. So in this video, people can see for themselves.”
The fundraiser, which also included a performance by former RCMP officer and noted singer Garth Hampson, brought in $3,000 through freewill offerings, which Worden will be sending to the diocese directly.
When the Anglican Journal contacted McCartney, he expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Christ Church and others. “We’ve been blessed from the wider national church,” he said, “who have contributed quite a lot toward the building and [retiring] the debt so far.”
Fundraisers also help raise awareness, he added, not just about St. Jude’s but about the overall ministry of the church in the North. “Putting ordained ministers in communities and raising up ordained ministers—that’s the challenge. We’ve got something like 31 communities that are currently ministered to by lay readers in non-sacramental ministry.”
McCartney noted that more funds would allow the diocese to bring on more ordained clergy, and to pay more clergy for the work that is being done. “The seminary here in the diocese, where we trained people in the North, sort of went on hold because of the financial commitments that were weighing on us due to the cathedral debt,” McCartney explained. “For a period of time, the focus was very much on the cathedral, and getting the debt down on the cathedral so that the ministry could continue in the Arctic.”
But now that things have stabilized a little, McCartney wants to shift the focus more onto the work that needs to be done. “We need to look at training and the continual need for clergy, the continual need to train our own people,” he said. “That will be the next thing.”
The original St. Jude’s building, erected in 1972 by local volunteers, was destroyed in a 2005 arson fire. The current building was completed in 2012.
Anglican Journal News, March 27, 2015