WASHINGTON – The iconic Washington National Cathedral,
struggling with financial problems, faces millions of
dollars in repair
costs from the damage inflicted by Tuesday’s (Sept. 23) East
And nothing is covered by insurance,
according to a church official.
Clergy and a team of architects and
engineers spent the day after
the magnitude 5.8 quake assessing the cathedral, and found
damage, including fallen carved angels on the church’s roof,
flying buttresses, and missing finials from the pinnacles of
“We run a very tight budget here at
the cathedral and we have had
our financial challenges that we’ve worked through very
well,” the Very
Rev. Samuel Lloyd, dean of the cathedral, said Wednesday.
“But there is nothing in our budget
that would allow us to step up
and do this,” he said.
Joe Alonso, the cathedral’s head
stone mason, said it will take
years to complete the repairs.
“It’s going to be millions, no doubt
about it. Millions,” he said.
“As large as this structure is, it’s all hand made.”
Hit hard by the recession, the
Episcopal cathedral in recent years
has weathered several rounds of staff layoffs and been
forced to cut
The charge now, Lloyd said, is to go
back to those who contributed
to the construction of the cathedral, which began in 1907
completed in 1990.
“It was built by people from across
the country who believe having
this space for the nation in the heart of the nation’s
capital is a
hugely important enterprise,” said Lloyd. A new feature on
cathedral’s website encourages donations.
The cathedral, the second largest in
the nation, will be closed
through Saturday as engineers continue to assess the damage.
officials say they hope it will be open for Sunday services.
Officially, the cathedral is
the mother church of the Episcopal
Diocese of Washington, but bills itself as a “house of
prayer for all
The earthquake and the subsequent
damage “has not been a jarring
thing for our faith,” Lloyd said. “What it has done is challenge
claim our faith, to go to work to make this place be as
beautiful and powerful as its always been.”