Thursday, October 27, 2011
The link above is for the church where I grew up, the Cathedral Church of Saint John, in Wilmington, Delaware. I learned recently that the Cathedral will be closing in July 2012, for lack of funds. I knew there were financial problems, but I had no idea it had come to this. I have never before heard of a diocese without a Cathedral, though perhaps I am naive to be so horrified by this thought.
Below is an excerpt from the History portion of the Cathedral's website:
The Cathedral Church of Saint John is the Cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware and the seat of the Bishop of Delaware. June 13, 1857, the cornerstone was laid, and the church was consecrated on November 3, 1858. Alexis Irenee du Pont is credited with founding the church and donating the funds for its construction. John Notman of Philadelphia who designed the Athenaeum on Independence Square as well as Saint Mark’s Church in Philadelphia, designed the church.
Because of the use of pointed arches, the design is considered Gothic; however, it might be more accurately described as typical English Village Church style. The church is constructed of Brandywine granite about three feet thick. Mr. Notman adhered to the old custom of sitting the church to meet the North, South, East and West compass bearings. The church itself was 116 feet long with the altar at the East end, and the center aisle runs East and West. The open roof has all its massive oak rafters, purlines, jack and hammer beams open to view. The total cost of construction including the land was $26,173.49.
So the Bishop will have no seat, and I will have no chance to return, as I have occasionally, to the place where my parents were married, and from which they were buried, where I was baptized, confirmed, and married (both times!), and where my Dad was confirmed just four months before he died. The nave seemed endless to my child's eyes, and bears a striking resemblance to that of the church where I worship today. I also remember a quaint childrens' chapel up on the top floor, and a large wooden model of the Cathedral itself, with little doors that could be opened and shut. Like a church dollhouse!
If I come across additional pictures at home, I will post them. Meanwhile, I am trying to plan one more visit, before the Cathedral doors close forever.
It's wrong. It's just wrong!