Saturday, November 3, 2007

St Paul's Cathedral ... #163

TheWellington Cathedral of St Paul is the parish church for the people of Thorndon, and there has been an Anglican church in this area for nearly 160 years. Many of the regular worshippers though come from the greater Wellington area, drawn by the particular style of worship offered – which includes fine choral music and challenging preaching. As the ‘mother church’ of the Diocese of Wellington St Paul’s is used for special Diocesan occasions, especially ordinations at St Andrew’s tide.

A cathedral takes its name from the ‘cathedra’ or bishop’s seat. It is the central church of a Diocese and has a number of functions and constituencies. The Cathedral also has a civic and national role and is frequently asked to host special focus services. Examples are the memorial service for New Zealand’s Unknown Warrior in November 2004, a service celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, an ecumenical service for victims of the tsunami of Boxing Day 2004, and the tragic death of Brother Roger of Taizé in August 2005. The fine acoustic makes it a sought after venue for concerts, both choral and orchestral.

The building itself has many interesting aspects to it. Completed finally in 2000 it includes things of historic interest to Wellington and New Zealand such as the Chanuk Bair Memorial, the Flag Room, the Women’s Memorial and a tribute to the business community of Wellington. The Lady Chapel is a piece of kiwi history, having been moved from its original site in Paraparaumu in 1990. The magnificent stained glass windows tell the story of our faith. For teachers looking for interesting things to do in Wellington, a whole day could be spent inside the Cathedral – there is history, religion, art and music.

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