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National Cathedral Gets
$5 Million For Repair Effort


BY CHRIS LISEE                                                                                                            ©2012 Religion News Service

One year after an earthquake caused extensive damage to the Washington National Cathedral, church officials received a large gift to help restore the structure.

The $5 million grant comes from the Lilly Endowment Inc., a philanthropic organization.

The announcement came on August 23 amid observances for the one-year anniversary of the quake. The ceremony was marked by pealing of bells at 1:53 p.m., the moment the quake hit. Afterwards, a newly carved crocket stone--an ornamental carving of foliage that acts as a rainspout--was blessed and placed on the damaged southwest pinnacle of the 330-foot tall central tower.

Standing 676 feet above sea level, the tower is the highest point in the nation's capital.

Though workers have spent the past year stabilizing structures and assessing damage, organizers said the anniversary marked the first significant exterior restoration.

The Lilly family's support for the church spans decades, explained N. Clay Robbins, president and CEO of Lilly Endowment.

"Eli Lilly, one of the endowment's founders, and his wife Ruth were devoted to the National Cathedral and provided major support for the cathedral's northwest St. Peter Tower decades ago," she said.

The announcement also marked the end of a smaller restoration fundraising campaign, which raised over $84,000 of its $100,000 goal.

More fundraising looms, said the Rev. Francis H. Wade, the cathedral's interim dean. He said the cathedral has raised nearly $8 million so far, but will need over $50 million to fix the earthquake damage and complete a full historic preservation. It will take an estimated $20 million alone to repair the earthquake damage, and the work will likely take a decade.

"While we are overwhelmed by the generosity we have received, we know that we face a significant challenge in raising all the funding we will need for complete restoration and overall long-term preservation," he said.

The 5.8-magnitude quake was centered around Mineral, Va., and was felt as far north as Canada and as far west as Chicago. It caused all four pinnacles on the cathedral's central tower to rotate and weaken.




 

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