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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John -- which began as King's Church in 1722 and is the Diocese of Rhode Island's fourth oldest church -- is shutting down, with a final service set for April 22.
Cathedral of St. John Providence
Parishioners of the cathedral church, the seat of Bishop Geralyn Wolf, learned the news on Sunday from the Right Rev. David Joslin, the cathedral's interim dean, and Deacon Barbara May-Stock, during the parish's annual meeting on North Main Street.
Parishioner Marjorie Beach says many were in tears when advised that because of declining numbers of pledging families and the cost of salaries and benefits, the parish could not longer continue -- at least for now. The church closed temporarily once before -- during the American Revolution.
The following is an excerpt from the letter from the Acting Dean of St. John's Cathedral, the Rt. Rev. David B. Joslin announcing the closure of the cathedral:
Read it all here.
On Sunday, February 19, 2012, the Annual Meeting was held at the Cathedral of Saint John. In this letter I want to report on the central focus of that meeting.
Episcopal Diocese of R.I.'s Cathedral of St. John will close
As you know, the Cathedral parish has 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.
The Chapter has 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. Our last service will be on Sunday, 22 April 2012 at 9:30 AM, followed by a time to celebrate our past life together and to thank those who have faithfully served here.
As Acting Dean of the Cathedral of St. John, I announced this decision at the Annual Meeting. I can't exaggerate the pain of this process. We dreaded the conclusion but having exhausted all alternatives we found it was the only thing to do.
Please note 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.
Let me add a personal note. I have greatly enjoyed my association with the Cathedral and with you, its people. When Bishop Wolf asked me to be the Acting Dean following Dean Krauss's retirement I was very pleased and looked forward to ministering with you. But I also knew of the financial difficulties we faced and the pain I would share with you if the Cathedral had to be closed.