Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dunedin Cathedral

I have been considering this post for  a while. I can now post it along with the following post which will balance the bad news with much better news.

When I was considering moving to Dunedin I considered becoming a parishioner of the cathedral. On my visit in 2006, it seemed quite vibrant with an excellent Dean and a partnered gay man had just become deacon and was an associate in the cathedral. When I returned in 2008 the Dean had become bishop of Waiotapu (Napier) and there was a temporary dean. The partnered gay man was now an associate priest.  There was a website.
By the time I moved here in 2010 a new Dean had been installed. However the website was 6 months out of date. I emailed about that but received no reply. I therefore began worshipping at St John's Roslyn 3 Sundays per month and the other Sunday at the cathedral where the service and music is more to my taste. I learnt that the cathedral has financial problems and heard there were dissensions.

A few months ago it was announced in the city paper that the musical director, David Burchell had been sacked. He apparently had continual problems with one or two parishioners who I have been reliably informed are each a sandwich short of a picnic.  Apparently it is easier to sack a musical director, no matter how excellent he may be, than remove some parishioners who can probably not sing a note.

The musical director was immediately snapped up as organist at the Catholic cathedral but that does not pay as well as a musical director.  He is already the city organist and choir master for the city choir who immediately moved their rehearsals (and rent) from the cathedral. We have joked in our parish that we now have refugees both from Christchurch and the Dunedin cathedral. While not much ,I no longer give a quarter of my offertories to the cathedral.  At a recent city concert David received a very large round of applause. The cathedral has managed to alienate many of the music lovers in the city. It remains to be seen if the cathedral is chosen for future musical concerts.

Meanwhile the website is now more than 18 months out of date and now the notice board at the front of the cathedral is rarely updated.  It use to list weekly activities and the Sunday services and preacher. I found it useful and I am sure the many tourists who visit also made use of it. Two weeks ago, at the beginning of March, the January notices were still up and they referred to the shortened program common in the southern hemisphere holiday time. I went into the office and told the poor man at the desk (but the door to the dean's office was open) that it was  a disgrace. An updated notice was put up a few days later but now more than a week later it is again out of date.

From what I hear and observe they should have sacked the Dean instead of the musical director but guess that is a much more involved process. I had heard he was lazy and if he cannot be bothered updating the church noticeboard then I tend to believe it may be true.

It is very sad to see this state of affairs. In searching for a new photo I stumbled on a recent Ship of Fools review. A comment was made about the lack of music at a so called Sung Eucharist but that was the week after David was sacked. The lack of numbers in the congregation was also noted and although I have not attended this year I know the numbers last year were pathetic and they are probably smaller now.


Fran said...

That is sad... very sad. What is really going on, do you think?

"Sir" said...

How hard is it to keep a website updated?