There will be no services inside the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain which has been closed after a piece of a rafter was found on the floor on Thursday, a statement from the Anglican diocese said on Saturday.
Services this weekend have been moved outdoors to the carpark, while administrators find a temporary place for future worship, The Very Reverend Shelley-Ann Tenia, dean and rector of the cathedral said.
Tenia reports that a decorative piece from a rafter located above the organ was found on the floor to the front of the nave.
"A structural engineer completed an inspection and advised the following:
• The dislodged piece was solid and in excellent condition;
• The side that was against the rafter showed evidence of termites (ie termite tracks were found);
• Light was seen through the roof at the point where the chancel roof meets the roof of the nave.
"Based on her findings, the engineer recommended that no further activities be held in the church until restoration works can be effected as there is a greater risk of additional decorative members/pieces falling."
Two weekend services were due to take place in paved area of the car park on Abercromby Street, on Saturday at 4.30 pm, and Sunday, at 8 am.
Weekday services on Fridays at noon will continue in the Garden of Peace, at the eastern end of the church compound. On weekends, virtual services will take place, while funerals and other engagements will be accommodated at All Saints' Newtown and St Agnes in St James.
"We are in active consultation with other Christian denominations to secure a sacred space for worship as a community."
The Anglican diocese is raising $15 million to start restoration work on the cathedral which was damaged by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on August 21, 2018. Before this, it was damaged by earthquakes in 1825 and 1918. Overall, an estimated $70 million is needed for the entire project.
Last December, Bishop Claude Berkley encouraged parishioners to contribute to a fund to finance the urgent major works.
In a letter, Berkley said there was substantial cracking and damage to walls, the steeple, and chancel roof, as well as the destruction of several stone pinnacles. The cathedral also experiences from major leaks with numerous broken roof slates and cracked gutters. He also spoke of moisture trapped within the walls, rotting structural timbers, as well as vegetation growth causing cracking in the structure.
Berkley said the government has provided the project management services of the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) on a pro bono basis. Government allocated $20 million to the restoration costs in the 2021 budget. Berkley said that money has not been used to date. In the 2022 budget, the Government provided a 150 per cent tax concession to national companies that make contributions up to $1 million for each company towards the Heritage Site Asset of the National Trust.
Donations can be made through First Citizens Bank, account number 2696950.