Ottawa fundraiser brings in money for the Arctic

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St. Jude’s Cathedral, in Iqaluit, was destroyed by arson in 2005 and rebuilt in 2012, but the debt incurred still sits at $1.27 million. Photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of the Arctic
St. Jude’s Cathedral, in Iqaluit, was destroyed by arson in 2005 and rebuilt in 2012, but the debt incurred still sits at $1.27 million. Photo: Courtesy of the Diocese of the Arctic

While St. Jude’s Cathedral now stands proudly in centralIqaluit, the debt incurred in building it stands at $1.27 million, according toDarren McCartney, suffragan bishop for the diocese of the Arctic, an amountthat significantly inhibits the diocese’s ability to go about its mission.

For this reason, and because of its extensive andlong-standing relations with Anglicans from the Arctic, Christ Church Cathedralin the diocese of Ottawa held a fundraiser on March 21 at its new parish hallbuilding to bring in money to retire the debt.

Leslie Worden, who is involved with the Anglican ChurchWomen of Canada (ACW) and who helped to organize the event, said that despitepoor weather, around 100 people came out to a screening of the documentary Soul of the Arctic, produced byNorthern-Ireland television network UTV. The documentary chronicles McCartney’sjourney from being a priest in Northern Ireland to being a bishop in the Arctic.

“People always want to know about the North,” said Worden,”and there’s not that much I know how to tell them. So in this video, peoplecan see for themselves.”

The fundraiser, which also included a performance by formerRCMP officer and noted singer Garth Hampson, brought in $3,000 through freewillofferings, which Worden will be sending to the diocese directly.

When the AnglicanJournal contacted McCartney, he expressed his gratitude for the efforts ofChrist Church and others. “We’ve been blessed from the wider national church,”he said, “who have contributed quite a lot toward the building and [retiring] thedebt so far.”

Fundraisers also help raise awareness, he added, not justabout St. Jude’s but about the overall ministry of the church in the North. “Puttingordained ministers in communities and raising up ordained ministers-that’s thechallenge. We’ve got something like 31 communities that are currentlyministered to by lay readers in non-sacramental ministry.”

McCartney noted that more funds would allow the diocese tobring on more ordained clergy, and to pay more clergy for the work that isbeing done. “The seminary here in the diocese, where we trained people in the North,sort of went on hold because of the financial commitments that were weighing onus due to the cathedral debt,” McCartney explained. “For a period of time, thefocus was very much on the cathedral, and getting the debt down on thecathedral so that the ministry could continue in the Arctic.”

But now that things have stabilized a little, McCartneywants to shift the focus more onto the work that needs to be done. “We need tolook at training and the continual need for clergy, the continual need to trainour own people,” he said. “That will be the next thing.”

The original St. Jude’s building, erected in 1972 by localvolunteers, was destroyed in a 2005 arson fire. The current building wascompleted in 2012.

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André Forget
André Forget was a staff writer for the Anglican Journal from 2014 to 2017.

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