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National Cathedral still “cut off” in earthquake damage


Washington National Cathedral is still working on repairs following the 2011 area earthquake that caused an estimated $40 million in damage to the iconic structure, but fundraising efforts are giving the project a financial boost.

The cathedral is in the process of raising a goal of $150 million through a campaign it calls “Cathedral of the Future.”

It has already raised $115 million and the cathedral expects the rest to come over the next two years. This money will be enough to pay for the rest of the earthquake repairs, among other things.

“This is the culmination of efforts to restore the hallmarks of the cathedral and expand our mission of community service,” said Reverend Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the cathedral.

“This is hard work, difficult and meticulous,” said Joe Alonso, builder of the cathedral’s headstone. “We’ve been literally driving it too far for the past 11 years and we’re a little more than halfway there.”

Alonso said that when the quake struck, he and his team were “stunned by the devastation.”

“We’ve divided the work into phases now,” Alonso explained.

Another project that will be funded through the campaign is a major renovation of the cathedral’s tube organ, which was first installed in 1938.

“The renovation will address the breakdown of the organ over nearly a century of service and will include preserving the major original elements of the organ while adding new parts,” the cathedral said in a statement.

Fundraising enabled the opening of the Cathedral’s “Virginia May Center,” a fully renovated 30,000 square foot pilgrimage and retreat center. It will host events for people of all faiths to explore art, music, and spiritual formation as well as issues of social and racial justice.

“Through the funding provided by this effort, the cathedral will ensure the ability to serve as a sacred place and gathering place for all people in new and exciting ways,” Hollerith said.




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