Rebuilding St. John’s… our spiritual home for more than 100 years

It must have been a very exciting day in September 1912 when the Governor General of Canada, Prince Arthur, laid the corner stone for the new Anglican Cathedral to be constructed in a beautiful location on the bank of the Saskatchewan River. The whole town of Saskatoon was abuzz with excitement and the members of the parish were gratified to see years of effort come to this. But it was only a beginning. With a war and economic collapse intervening, it was five years before the first services were held.
As the congregation approached the centenary of that day, and wondered how best to honour these church pioneers, we knew that we wanted to restore the building as a gift to those who would be worshipping here throughout the second century of the Cathedral. So the plans were laid for a major fundraising effort and a technical assessment of the scope of work that was needed.  We knew then that this would be decade long program involving many phases and small projects, and it is satisfying to now see the end in sight.
There was great enthusiasm to gather up the financial resources that would be needed.  Major gifts were offered by members of the congregation and pennies were collected too.  Other parishioners pledged monthly gifts over many years. The Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation was a generous early donor and then offered to match more gifts.  Several local businesses made donations.  The Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation was an early supporter and has continued that support through several phases as have the City of Saskatoon, the Columbarium at St. John’s, the ACW and the Anglican Foundation.  Projects large and small were undertaken to raise awareness and funds – “Memories and Mistletoe” concerts, Octoberfest, Shrove Tuesday suppers.  The most memorable of these was certainly “The Bishop’s Walk” that saw Bishop Tom Morgan and his many supporters walking from St. Alban’s Cathedral in Prince Albert to St. John’s and pledging over $60,000.  It was a memorable moment when, at the anniversary celebration in September 2012 we announced we had passed the one million dollar mark.

It has been a challenge to match the financial resources with the needed work and by 2013 it was clear a pause was needed, having spent well over $1.5 million.

The project resumed in 2015 and Phase 2 encompassed work on the north gutters and the steeple.  The Cathedral has a unique system of gutters, scuppers, downspouts and interior drains that must all be working efficiently to ensure there is no damage to the building from rain and melting snow.  This had not been the case for many years and this phase began to address the long-standing issue of water ingress to the Cathedral.  It left us reassured that the treatment proposed was an effective one for the remainder of the building.

Phase 3 in 2018-19 focused on the south gutters, a hidden but necessary part of the overall project and within our means at the time.  The doors on the Cathedral were restored at this time to remind us of the welcome within.  Emergency repairs were also made to the roof and this was a reminder that the re-roofing could not wait much longer.

If you are a member of our parish community you may already know that we will enter into a new phase of work for our spiritual home in 2021

Supporters like you have given generously and often to future restoration work in the past and so the parish has $290,000 in funding set aside. The Cathedral’s leadership team has also set aside matching funds of $250,000 for future work. The Columbarium as a member of our parish family has also committed to contributing $100,000 to the project.  And finally an anonymous member of our parish has offered a gift of  $100,000 to be matched by parish member contributions. We are delighted to share with you that this match has already been initiated with gifts totaling $37,000.  With so many generous contributors, we are well on our way. But we need your help.  

The Cathedral building immediately requires between $750,000 and $1 million of work in 2021:

  • to replace the shingles and insulate the south nave and transept,
  • to remove the small spire which needs to be rebuilt,
  • and to reconstruct the roof over the baptistry.

The building also needs shingling and insulating for the north roof as funds are available. This work has become increasingly urgent as any further delay could result in roof failure and far more expensive repairs in the future.  The price tag for all work to be completed is $2.6 million.

Your parish of St. John the Evangelist was founded in 1903 by ambitious, committed Christians who had come to this part of the world in search of better lives for themselves and their families.  Our congregation and the wider community have pulled together repeatedly to leave a legacy for generations to come. We as members of this parish have been so fortunate to build on their hopes and dreams and we must not let them down. 

We prayerfully ask, will you consider a gift to the Restoration Fund to help with this important investment in the future of our spiritual home?  Thanks be to God!

Donate Now to the Restoration Fund