Anglicans to Rebuild Multi-Million-Dollar 'Igloo' Church

Correction appended

The rebuilding of a multi-million-dollar igloo-shaped church in northwest Canada is slated to start next month.

St. Jude's Cathedral in Iqaluit, Nunavut, is schedule to have a groundbreaking service on June 3 to mark the rebuilding of the Anglican church that was damaged by arson in November 2005 and demolished June 2006.

The premier of Nunavut, Paul Okalik, has been invited to turn the turf at the service.

The cathedral, with its unique igloo-shaped dome, was a tourist attraction as well as an important building in the Anglican Church, having held the seat of the Diocese of The Arctic.

Although St. Jude plans to rebuild soon, it is still $4.5 million short of the $6 million needed to rebuild the Cathedral.

The fundraising team says it is facing several difficulties raising funds including a controversy over its beliefs on homosexuality and slow communication via mail in the North; appeals made last June only came back in December and early this year.

In 2005, the church declared a ban on the employment of, among others, "homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals." As a result, some Anglicans who supported homosexuality have vowed not to contribute to the rebuilding of St. Jude.

However, Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk, diocesan bishop of the Arctic, said he only received one or two letters of people saying they would not support the church because of its homosexuality policy. The bishop said the opposition is not large enough to cause concern.

Nevertheless, the bishop expressed hope that people would go beyond the issue and consider the importance of the cathedral for Christianity in the North.

"This has nothing to do with individuals or the church's stand on the issue," said Atagotaaluk, according to the Anglican Journal. "This is something vitally important to a ministry of any kind and that should be supported.

"This has something to do with our faith, the faith that we have in God, His work," he added.

"We should not have attitudes that are politically grounded. We are a church that believes that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and it is his work that we are drawn together to share."

The bishop shared that rebuilding the church will prove difficult because of its isolation where in many areas there is only air and no roads to carry supplies from one area to another. This transportation obstacle also makes rebuilding more expensive.

The Artic Diocese contains the largest area among Canada's 30 Anglican dioceses.

Correction:  Tuesday, May 29, 2007:

An article on Friday, May 18, 2007, about the rebuilding of an "igloo-shaped" Anglican church in Canada incorrectly cited the Anglican Church News Service as the source of Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk comments. The Christian Post confirmed with Leanne Larmondin, editor of the Anglican Journal, that the comments first appeared in the Anglican Journal.