Generous donor issues challenge

Published October 15, 2010

Work in progress: St. Jude’s Cathedral, Iqaluit
Photo: Courtesy of the diocese of the Arctic

The reconstruction of St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit got a big boost this month with a $500,000 gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

The donor has challenged individuals and corporations to match that amount by the end of the year to fund completion of the cathedral exterior. The original structure was destroyed by arson in 2005.

“The external shell will be up. It is no longer just a dream,” the donor said in a statement. “…we hope that others will join the fundraising effort to ensure that a Christmas service can be held in 2011.”

The diocese made a leap of faith this year, beginning construction of the igloo-shaped cathedral even though all of the funds needed to complete the exterior had not yet been raised.

Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk said people in Iqualuit are excited. “We’re very confident now that we’ll have enough funds to complete the first [exterior] phase for 2010,” he said. Although there has been some snow, everyone is hoping it stays warm until the exterior cladding is finished and the foam insulation is put in, he added.

Debra Gill, executive officer of the diocese, said finishing the interior will require an estimated $3 million, although that price might drop slightly if volunteers can do some of the finishing labour such as painting.

Until the cathedral is complete, the congregation is using the parish hall. Many of the church’s outreach programs-the soup kitchen, book store, Sunday school, hospital and prison chaplaincy and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings-have been scaled back. Work is in progress to re-establish youth ministry.


  • Leigh Anne Williams

    Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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