Press Room

Washington, DC, October 4, 2011

Washington National Cathedral to Reopen on November 12, 2011

Cathedral confirms restoration estimates in the tens of millions of dollars


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Washington, D.C.—Washington National Cathedral announced today its plans to reopen on Saturday, November 12, 2011, for the first time since August’s earthquake. That day, the Rev. Dr. Mariann Edgar Budde will be consecrated as the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington at the Cathedral. The reopening will include a week of events providing the Cathedral with the opportunity to welcome back and thank the community for its support during this difficult time.

Also today, the Cathedral confirmed that early estimates of total restoration costs would rise to the tens of millions of dollars. The Cathedral hopes to continue an aggressive fundraising effort to raise at least $25 million to offset the costs of the early restoration work and to help support its operations through the end of 2012. The short-term priorities are around stabilizing the building, re-opening the Cathedral, and continuing its operations and mission. The overall restoration of the Cathedral is expected to take numerous years, and the effort will seek contributions large and small from across the country.

The Right Rev. John Bryson Chane, interim dean of the Cathedral and eighth bishop of Washington, said, “This has been a difficult time for the Cathedral, made easier by the support of so many in the Washington community as well as by supporters across the nation. While we are proud of our ability to continue our historic mission under trying circumstances, we look forward to returning to our home—and welcoming those seeking a spiritual refuge to join us. Reopening is only the first step down a long path toward restoring the Cathedral to its previous state. We will reach the end of that path only through the support of this community and people across the nation.”

The long delay in reopening is due to the need to stabilize damaged portions of the building, including the central and west front towers of the Cathedral. A safety perimeter remains in place during stabilization work involving a 550-ton-capacity construction crane, with which workers are in the process of placing numerous steel beams weighing a total of 70 tons in the central tower. Scaffolding is being constructed atop the beams to gain access to and then safely remove the damaged pinnacles. Crews will be working diligently leading up to the reopening to ensure that those visiting the Cathedral for worship, programs, or just to tour one of Washington’s must-see national landmarks will be provided with the experience one would expect from the National Cathedral.

The building has been closed since the August 23 earthquake, forcing worship services and events to be moved to alternate sites in the area, preventing the 35,000 worshipers and visitors the Cathedral normally receives every month from experiencing the Cathedral fully.

“The Cathedral has been entrusted to us as an important resource and national treasure to serve as the spiritual home for the nation,” added the Rev. Dr. James P. Wind, chair of the Cathedral’s governing board, the Cathedral Chapter. “We take that trust very seriously and will do everything necessary to restore the building to the condition our national community of supporters has come to expect. We hope to engage people from across the country—drawn from every sector of society—not just in our effort to restore the physical structure but also in our role to be a sacred place that welcomes the country to commemorate, pray, and mourn.”

About Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is called to be the spiritual home for the nation. It seeks to be a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, renewal in the churches, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in our world.

SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral
Media Contact: Meredith MacKenzie
Work: (202) 776-7700