Rhode Island Cathedral to close

 

Rhode Island Cathedral to close

Author: 

George Conger

The Diocese of Rhode Island’s Cathedral of St John has announced that it will close its doors.
Founded in 1722 as the King’s Church, members of Rhode Island’s fourth oldest Episcopal Church learned on 19 February 2012 that the cathedral chapter in consultation with Bishop Geralyn Wolf voted to close the church effective 22 April.
In a letter to the congregation, the interim dean, retired Bishop David Joslin of Central New York, reported that at the cathedral’s annual meeting, the chapter had been in “engaged in much prayer, anguish, and discussion. We have consulted with the Bishop and her staff and our former Wardens. As a result, the Chapter realized that we must suspend services and parish life at the Cathedral.”
Bishop Joslin noted the cathedral “experienced growing financial difficulty over a period of years. Now it has become more than a difficulty. Simply put, we are now out of money. Last year we had a deficit of about $250,000 which was covered by reserves. Now those reserves have been used up.”
According to statistics published by the national church offices in New York, the Cathedral of St John had 400 members as of the end of 2010 – an increase of 50 since 2000.  However, the average Sunday attendance of the church as the end of 2010 was 130, a decline of approximately 30 since 2000. Parish contributions also declined over the decade, falling to approximately $140,000 by 2010.
“I can’t exaggerate the pain of this process,” Bishop Joslin said.  “We dreaded the conclusion but having exhausted all alternatives we found it was the only thing to do.”
However, the bishop added that “while services and parish life are being suspended it does not mean that the Cathedral is being permanently closed. Suspending services now leaves open the possibility of new uses for the Cathedral in the future mission strategy of the Diocese.”
St John’s in Providence, Rhode Island is the second Episcopal Cathedral to shut its doors due to declining income and attendance. On 25 Sept 2011 the chapter of the Cathedral of St John in Wilmington announced the Diocese of Delaware’s cathedral would close in July 2012.