Arctic receives anonymous donation

By on November 27, 2006

An “anonymous donor of the North” has pledged $50,000 to the diocese of Arctic’s $5 million fundraising campaign to rebuild St. Jude’s Cathedral, Iqaluit’s historic “igloo church” which had been destroyed by an arson fire in November 2005. According to an Arctic Appeal update bulletin, “The diocese encourages such pledges, which will assist it in making decisions about the construction schedule to replace the church.” The campaign has so far raised over $320,000. Doug Little, who co-ordinates the fundraising campaign, said local residents are still “struggling” to raise the money needed to rebuild St. Jude’s and in the meantime, costs for restoration continue to grow. “Building costs in Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s newest territory Nunavut, are twice as high as costs in the south, estimated at $485 square foot compared to $225 in Halifax, $235 in Ottawa and $255 in Vancouver,” he said. “As well, costs in the project have risen due to a 40 per cent increase in the capacity of the church needed to accommodate growth in Iqaluit, which is expected to double in population in the next 10 to 20 years.” Proceeds from the insurance are expected to cover only $717,000 of the construction costs, he said. The parish hopes that construction can be completed in May 2008, when the diocese celebrates its 75th anniversary. Andrew Atagotaaluk, diocesan bishop of the Arctic, has made an urgent appeal to Anglicans and Christians around the world to support the campaign. “It is impossible for a community of 6,000 people and our Arctic diocese of 55,000 people spread across the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Nunavik – we are the largest Anglican diocese in the world – to raise this kind of money without help from across Canada and indeed from around the world,” said Bishop Atagotaaluk.He added that St. Jude’s has served not only as the spiritual centre of Iqaluit, “it was also the heart of the community from which many critical social and family programs emanated.” Services are being held temporarily in the church hall, but the bishop fears the church’s outreach programs will suffer without the cathedral. (Outreach plays a critical role in communities in the Arctic, which face challenges like alcohol and drug abuse, high teenage pregnancy and school dropout rates, physical and sexual abuse, suicides and unemployment.)”Our beloved cathedral was more than an Iqaluit, Nunavut, or indeed a Canadian Arctic landmark – it was a place of worship, a monument to local ingenuity and pride in our community. Its loss reverberated throughout the entire North,” said Ed Picco, an Iqaluit member of the Legislative Assembly and Nunavut’s minister of energy, who heads the St. Jude’s Cathedral Fundraising Committee. Donations may be made out to: St. Jude’s Cathedral Restoration Fund, and sent to the Diocese of the Arctic, P.O. Box 190, Yellowknife NT, X1A 2N2. For more details, call (867) 873-5432, write to [email protected] or visit the Web site, www.arcticnet.org

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