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Anglicans could lose new igloo church in Canadian Arctic

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic
Officials from the Anglican diocese of the Arctic say they are in a financial crisis after receivers for a bankrupt contractor asked for the outstanding bills on the new Iqaluit cathedral to be paid. CBC News photo

Officials from the Anglican diocese of the Arctic say they are in a financial crisis after receivers for a bankrupt contractor asked for the outstanding bills on the new cathedral in Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, to be paid.

“We risk losing our cathedral for the second time in a decade because Dowland’s receiver is asking for a payment of outstanding Dowland bills,” Bishop David Parsons at a press conference on Monday.

The new St. Jude’s cathedral, which opened last year, replaced a church destroyed by a deliberately-set fire in 2005.

Its contractor, Dowland Construction, has gone bankrupt. The church still owes $3 million on the new cathedral.

“What we’re sharing with you now is we don’t have that money. The request that the receiver is making to us is unrealistic,” said Parsons. “The plan that we have is realistic. The ongoing fundraising was working, and ... we wish to continue with that plan.​”

The cathedral is the hub of the Anglican diocese covering Canada’s Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Inuit self-governing region of Nunavik in northern Quebec.

Parishioner Rebeka Williams says she has faith that God will provide guidance.

“It’s never going to close,” she said. “I have a great big faith that it will never close.”

Dowland Construction would not comment.

Church officials say they’re looking at their legal options to avoid foreclosure.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.