Holy Trinity Cathedral closes after rafter fall


Inside the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. A piece of rafter that fell Thursday caused the closure of the cathedral which was damaged in the August 2018 earthquake. – FILE PHOTO/AYANNA KINSALE

There will be no services inside Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain, which was closed after a piece of rafter was found on the floor on Thursday, a statement from the Anglican diocese said Saturday.

This weekend’s services have been moved outside to the parking lot, while administrators find a temporary location for future worship, said the Very Reverend Shelley-Ann Tenia, dean and rector of the cathedral.

Tenia reports that a decorative piece from a rafter above the organ was found on the floor at the front of the nave.

“A structural engineer carried out an inspection and advised the following:

• The dislodged part was solid and in excellent condition;

• The side that was against the rafter had termite marks (ie termite marks were found);

• The light was seen through the roof where the chancel roof meets the nave roof.

“Based on his findings, the engineer recommended that no further activity be held in the church until restoration work can be carried out, as there is a greater risk of falling elements. additional decorations.”

Two weekend services were due to take place in the cobbled area of ​​the Abercromby Street car park, on Saturday at 4.30pm and Sunday at 8am.

Friday noon weekday services will continue in the Peace Garden at the east end of the church grounds. Over the weekend, virtual services will take place, while funerals and other engagements will take place at All Saints’ Newtown and St Agnes in St James.

The Very Reverend Shelley-Ann Tenia – File Photo

“We are in active consultation with other Christian denominations to ensure sacred space for worship as a community.”

The Anglican Diocese is raising $15 million to begin restoration work on the cathedral which was damaged by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on August 21, 2018. Prior to that it was damaged by earthquakes in 1825 and 1918. Overall, an estimated $70 million is needed for the entire project.

Last December, Bishop Claude Berkley encouraged parishioners to contribute to a fund to finance major urgent works.

In a letter, Berkley said there were major cracks and damage to the walls, steeple and chancel roof, as well as the destruction of several stone pinnacles. The cathedral is also experiencing major leaks with numerous broken roof slates and cracked gutters. He also spoke of moisture trapped in the walls, rotting timber frames, as well as vegetation growth causing cracks in the structure.

Berkley said the government provided the project management services of the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) on a pro bono basis. The government allocated $20 million for restoration costs in the 2021 budget. Berkley said the money has not been used to date. In the 2022 budget, the government gave a 150% tax break to national businesses contributing up to $1 million for each business to the assets of the National Trust heritage site.

Donations can be made through First Citizens Bank, account number 2696950.

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