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Quake-damaged Cathedral faces millions in repairs
Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service
August 25, 2011
2 MIN READ TIME

Quake-damaged Cathedral faces millions in repairs

Quake-damaged Cathedral faces millions in repairs
Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service
August 25, 2011

WASHINGTON – The iconic Washington National Cathedral,

already

struggling with financial problems, faces millions of

dollars in repair

costs from the damage inflicted by Tuesday’s (Sept. 23) East

Coast

earthquake.

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

significant

damage, including fallen carved angels on the church’s roof,

cracks in

flying buttresses, and missing finials from the pinnacles of

the central

tower.

“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

programming.

The charge now, Lloyd said, is to go

back to those who contributed

to the construction of the cathedral, which began in 1907

and was

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

the

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.

Church

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

people.”

The earthquake and the subsequent

damage “has not been a jarring

thing for our faith,” Lloyd said. “What it has done is challenge

us to

claim our faith, to go to work to make this place be as

grand as

beautiful and powerful as its always been.”