Diocese of The Arctic
St.Jude's Anglican Cathedral
Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
Contact Cathedral office
Today is: Tuesday,19 June,2018 05:57:27 AM

 Archbishop of Keewatin The Most Rev. David N. Ashdown

October 5, 2013

The Rt. Rev. David W. Parsons
Bishop of the Arctic
4910-51st Street
Box 190
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2N2

Dear Bishop Parsons:

Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ!

I was shocked to learn of the financial crisis now facing the Diocese of the Arctic. It is disturbing to say the very least that an agreement entered into in good faith with a contractor could now, because of the bankruptcy of that contractor, threaten the ministry and service of the diocese.

For many years, The Diocese of the Arctic has been faithful, often at considerable sacrifice by its clergy and lay leaders, in serving the people of Canada’s most northerly and isolated communities. I have seen first-hand your work among the hungry and homeless. I have had heard many stories from individuals who would not be alive today if it was not for the compassion and caring shown to them by your clergy and other ministers.

I fervently pray that your efforts to raise the necessary funds to carry on this work will be successful and that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts of many to respond generously to your appeal.

While the Province of Rupert’s Land does not have the financial resources to assist in this matter, I am sending you $500.00 out of the meager account called the Metropolitan’s Discretionary Fund. I, personally, prepared to do what I can to help you resolve this crisis as soon as possible so that you can continue to give your full attention to the important and critical ministry of serving all of God’s people,

We continue to uphold you in prayer.

Yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Keewatin and Metropolitan of Rupert’s Land
Box 567, 915 Ottawa St.
Keewatin, Ontario, P0X 1C0
Phone (807) 547-3353
Fax (807)547-3356


Help Rekindle a Northern Light
Fundraiser for St. Jude’s Cathedral
from a letter by Garth Hampton

Today is the feast of St. Jude. The name of St. Jude rings a bell for me this year. It reminds me that St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit no concert poster.jpglonger exists. Some of you may recall the devastating fire of November 5, 2005, which removed this unique and important structure from the capital of Nunavut. A young man broke into the Cathedral intent on robbery and then set it on fire. This igloo shaped structure, dedicated by our Queen no longer exists.

Aside from the native artifacts which made this place so special and a place of worship for our native people, this tragedy removed a building that stretched to meet the needs of countless others. Indeed, it was in the process of expanding to accommodate a rapidly expanding Arctic community when the fire occurred. The current population is expected to double over the next 10 to 20 years. This is now a dream that will remain just that while authorities consider the rebuilding of the Cathedral.

Outreach is a very important part of the ministry in the north. Its communities are faced with significant challenges, including alcohol and drug abuse, high teen pregnancy and school dropout rates, physical and sexual abuse, suicide and unemployment. St. Jude’s was the home base for much of this outreach in Iqaluit.

I have been involved in a great many fund raising challenges over the years but this one is dear to my heart, part of which remained in the north when I left my RCMP postings years ago. My plan is to present an evening of music by the very fine National Capital Concert Band, who are preparing this freewill offering concert specifically for St. Jude’s. I’ll be there to sing and I hope you will be there as well. Together, we can make a start on getting this necessary facility rebuilt.

Hopefully, the concert will raise public awareness locally for our friends in the north, and also to raise some needed money to get the ball rolling. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, Dec. 13th at 8 p.m. and plan to be with us at Christ Church Cathedral. This is the time of year when demands are put on us to help the less fortunate. I invite you to consider St. Jude’s in your festive givings. All monies received, without exception, will go to St. Jude’s.

A very special thank you to Garth Hampson, the National Capital Concert Band and Christ Church Cathedral for this amazing event.

ge:Wr Markosie                          
Carpenter, leader, Churchman
        Peter Markosie, Iou Inookee and Simeonee worked for the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development as carpenters. When the idea of a Cathedral built like an igloo was conceived it was decided to "borrow" and pay these first named two men to do the main construction. All labour employed on the building of the Cathedral was Eskimo and the job they did was superb; the workmanship unsurpassed, for as Markosie remarked: “This may not be what the white men like, but it is the Eskimo's Church."
But the white men do like it, it is beautiful by any standards and the Eskimos are really proud of it.
        During the last few evenings before the Consecration took place, one heard the clang of hammers, the resonant sound of saws, as volunteer labourers fitted together the pre-cut sheets of plywood and lumber for pews, they presented as busy a construction gang as could be found anywhere. The workers on those evenings (21 in all), worked carefully and yet did not interfere one with the other. There were some who had taken a brush in hand and were applying the polyurethane as the assemblers passed on to them the finished product. As one pew was set aside to dry, the workers turned to another until at last the colossal task was ended and the pews (sufficient to seat 300 to 400 people) were completed and dried. It was then announced that their project for the following night would be the laying of the indoor- outdoor carpet. So it was that the next night the seats now dry, were put to one side and the carpet unrolled. The 30 gallons of carpet glue in 5-gallon containers were opened, and all were found to be useless. They were later able to borrow some which was alright.
        Now the men turned their attention to the sleds which were to form the Communion Rails. The workers were not too happy at the kind of lumber the supplier had sent from the South,  for as they said: "No Eskimo would make a real sled from such materials, but the white man just doesn't know." Chopping, shaving, measuring and planing,  they shaped the sled, and it was a job which delighted the 12 volunteers. The work was their best as carpenters,  painters and men of every trade became enthralled with their task. Suddenly, extra lights went on as one of the Eskimo electricians connected the fluorescent lights which backlight the walls from behind the heating ducts at floor level. Arngnaitok was happy to startle all with the extra flood of light and when all was to his satisfaction,  he quietly mentioned that he would be back the next night to fix the lights under the valance from which light shines down on the beautifully worked curtains.
        Each of these men had already worked a full day at their normal trades and then, supper over, congregated at the Cathedral to work on until midnight.
        The women awaited the end of cutting, sawing and sanding, so that they might take over the cleaning, polishing and set ting to rights of the furnishings in the Cathedral. This was how the Eskimos kept their promise to finish the inside of the Cathedral by voluntary labour. Not one of them received a cent for their work (after Markosie and his helper had finished the main construction).
Through all of this, there were often suggestions or helpful advice given by Arch- deacon Whitbread, but let it not be thought that this was only the work of the Eskimos; many white people gave gifts and contributed in other ways so that the Cathedral is truly the Church built by the people, a community affair and a community Church.
        Frobisher Bay is obviously a cosmopolitan settlement for on the vestry are southern Canadians and one man whose ancestry is African.
        One thing that developed from this project (and it is just the kind of thing we hoped would happen), is that the Eskimos have proven themselves capable of doing things on their own. One surprising result was that in April, Markosie sent me a note saying he would like to start his own construction company employing some five or six workmen, and asking my help. We wish him well in his new venture, and we hope that the Government will increasingly employ the more than capable people who work on buildings and other projects, rather than employing firms and labour from the South.
        The Eskimos are capable of doing things excellently. If you doubt it,  visit Frobisher Bay and see St. Jude's Cathedral for yourself.


The Sunday school at All Saints Anglican Parish in Athabasca, Alberta made a banner for the cathedral congregation. This banner is now hanging in the parish hall in Iqaluit.

St. John’s Church in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, suffered from arson and knows the struggles of rebuilding. They are planning a concert to benefit the rebuilding of St. Jude’s.

Louise Chernetz, a former parishioner at St. Jude’s now attending St. Catherine’s Anglican Church, just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba, held a Christmas Baking Sale (with the permission of the vestry) with the proceeds going to the building/restoration of St. Jude’s.

Holy Trinity Yellowknife has had several fundraising events including a special super and a fundraising concert with Rev. Roy Martin of Grand Falls-Windsor, NL. Another concert is being planned for August with Aven Grace, daughter of the late Rev. Donald Whitbread. Rev. Whitbread was priest in Iqaluit during the time of the building of St. Jude’s in the 1970’s. As well, for the 2006 year, Holy Trinity vestry will match donations from congregation members for the cathedral restoration.

Several parishes in the Diocese of the Arctic make regular contributions to the cathedral building fund. One in particular has decided to provide a monthly tithe from their open offering.

Donations to the restoration of the cathedral came in many forms. From cash donations, stock transfers, anonymous donations and even sealskins and muskrat parkas.

A very big thank you to all our donors. It is hoped that a “Tree of Life” or something similar will be established in the new cathedral to recognize all donors.

Performance for St. Jude’s
by Ann Smith

I belong to a music theatre group called "The Spotlight Ensemble", which performs variety shows of Broadway material -- singing, dancing, and even tap-dancing! Our spring show is staged in early April each year, after which time it is our practice to take the show out into the community to raise funds for community organizations and other worthy causes.  I have consulted with the Rector of St. George's, Canon Ben Burry, about the possibility of putting on our show at St. George's as a benefit for the repair or reconstruction of St. Jude's.  He is favorable to this endeavor, and I know the members of the parish and community would rally round to make it a memorable evening.
Well, we did it!  The show was moderately well-attended, even though there was a big "car raffle" dance taking place that same evening (and the first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, too!)  We earned a standing ovation, and the final tally is $1300.00 raised ($220.00 of which is donations -- I set out a plate, turned my big brown eyes on the audience in my opening remarks and asked them to dig deeply into their pockets).  I know it's just a wee drop in the bucket of your needs for St. Jude's, but if nothing else, it will serve as a reminder that we "southerners" really do care about our brothers and sisters in the Arctic and want to help.  Everyone who attended had an enjoyable evening (the performers too!) and I was nearly mobbed at church the next morning by people who wanted to tell me just how much fun they had  All in all, a very successful evening!

Building a Marshmallow Igloo
by Joy Maclaren

“How do you build a marshmallow igloo?” I ask of my family.

“Oh, another one of your creative ideas?” they reply. “And why would you want to do that?” they ask.

St. Jude’s, the igloo-shaped Cathedral of the Diocese of the Arctic in Iqaluit, was destroyed by fire a year ago in November 2005. The ashes have now been all cleared away and it is time to start rebuilding. St. Jude’s was more than a place of worship. It was also a community centre and home base for many social programs. I felt that by using some of my creative juices in some small way I might be able to help spread the word at the grass roots level.

Yes, this marshmallow igloo was imagined, designed, and completed with the help of my grandchildren and friends, all who came up with helpful suggestions: “Granny, don’t use sugar lumps for the foundation – they will melt if they get wet! How about marshmallows?” As a result, marshmallows were cemented together with ‘royal icing’ to build the basic foundation for the igloo. A conical spire of cardboard and a tin foil cross were added, and presto – a marshmallow igloo cathedral.

Rebuilding St. Jude’s Cathedral will not be quite so easy. It too will require the help of many caring friends from across Canada. The materials to rebuild the Cathedral must be purchased and shipped by barge from Montreal to travel north by sea up the east coast of Canada to reach Iqaluit by mid-June, early July when the ice is finally gone from the bay. St. Jude was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. In his New Testament letters, St. Jude stressed that the “faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh and difficult circumstances.” If St. Jude’s is to be built again from the ashes this is a time for all of us to think of our outreach commitments.

Garth Hampson organized a “free-will offering” program of Christmas music featuring the National Capital Concert Band, with all proceeds in aid of The St. Jude’s Cathedral Restoration Fund. Garth is a retired RCMP officer who served in the arctic communities. Following the concert and during “coffee”, a group of students from Nunavut studying at an Inuit college program in Ottawa delighted the audience with a performance of throat singing and drum dancing. The spontaneous fun that they were having was very infectious. During all of this the marshmallow igloo was displayed on the refreshments table to catch everybody’s eye.

Paul Idlout, recently retired suffragan bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic was in Ottawa with his wife Abigail for three days. During his time in Ottawa Bishop Paul held services in Inuktitut for the large Inuit community at St. Margaret’s in Vanier. He also read the Gospel in Inuktitut at the Sunday service at Christ Church Cathedral, visited Inuit in hospital and attended the fundraising concert at Christ Church Cathedral where Garth presented Bishop Paul with the ‘marshmallow igloo’.
May children and their families have the fun of building simple marshmallow igloos in lieu of gingerbread houses. May people lick their fingers of any icing or marshmallow and write a cheque, large or small, in support of the restoration of St. Jude’s Cathedral outreach project.

Conservation Assessment Report

The altar was found to be beyond repair and after discussing treatment options with the Anglican vestry, it was determined that the altar would be rebuilt and some of the decorative elements would be removed, restored and displayed individually in the new cathedral. Those elements which require restoration are the wooden plaques (four on the proper rights side, and one on the proper left side), the engraved bronze sheet on the proper left side, and the gilt engraving along the top of the front of the altar with the inscription “I am the truth – the truth shall set you free.” It is recommended that these objects be removed from the altar and remounted/framed for display in the new cathedral. The ivory cross on the front of the altar was removed and restored separately.

The komatiq altar rails have been restored and are in use during services at the parish hall. The komatiq pulpit has also been restored and is once again in use during services.

The Bishop’s chair and prayer desk are currently in storage and whether they are salvageable is not yet known. The Fleming crosier is not conservable and cannot be treated as it would require melting it down. The only option for this is to leave it as is for display and have a new one replicated. Bishop Paul’s crosier – quite fragile – good for occasional use in the church only – will need professional work by an ivory specialist to stabilize cracks it is fragile but can be restored. The priest’s chair (one of this set of two was totally destroyed) has been restored and is in use during services. Two prayer desks have also been restored and are in use.

The baptismal font has been restored and is in use at the parish hall services. The paschal candle stand has already been rebuilt. The processional cross still requires work to restore.  The Queen’s shovel (used when she turned the sod for the Cathedral in 1970) has been cleaned and is usable.

The Vestry registry book was severely charred and has been sent to the Canadian Conservation Institute for treatment. It is estimated the cost will be approximately $500, however part of these costs will be recovered by the Navan St. Mary’s Anglican Church Women’s group who are fundraising to help with this.

The photos recovered from the fire were damaged to varying degrees and have been carefully surface cleaned to remove the damage from smoke and soot. The frames from these however were not salvageable and so these images will require reframing before they can be displayed.

Brass Anglican Plaque was cleaned with alcohol to remove the dirt and smoke damage. It was then coated with a thin layer of wax to protect it.

The narwhal tusks from the cross are partially burnt on the end. The broken tusk can be repaired. The ivory is stable and could be placed back on display.

Heritage Canada Foundation

St. Jude’s Cathedral has been included on Heritage Canada Foundation’s  Worst Losses List this year, along with our list of the most endangered places for 2007.  The announcement was made on February 19, 2007, Heritage Day.
This year, for the first time, the Endangered Places List is based on nominations received from partners, members and supporters.
The inclusion of the Cathedral brings attention to the issues facing both religious heritage and modern heritage. 

jpg]I am saddened to discover, rather late, of the destruction of the Cathedral. I resided in Frobisher Bay for 1970 – 1980 and attended many services there. When I worked for the CBC I often broadcast the Inuktitut services from my hiding spot behind the altar. As I knew the Order of Service I could switch microphones as necessary. I also did the broadcast when the Cathedral was consecrated. I functioned as the “funeral director” during the latter part of the decade and gained an insight into the culture that surrounded me.

I have nothing financial to offer. I am a part time novelist and last week I felt inspired to create the following work. I firmly believe the Spirit inspired this effort. If you feel it may generate any revenue for you, consider it a gift to the cause in His name.

Steve Lenaghan
                                by Stephen Lenaghan

I got up this morning at the usual 6 A.M. and found my way to the kitchen to make coffee.  As I stood waiting for the brew to complete I saw a paper on the table.

It read:

From the desk of God

To: Stephen
Things you should do today
It was simply initialed with a flourishing G.  Other than that, the paper was blank.

I thought this was a friend’s idea of a joke.  I dismissed it and carried on with my morning routine.

As I prepared to leave I noticed an open window.  Before I could close it a freezing blast of wind filled my kitchen.  Stupid weather.  I forced it shut and headed for the door.  The memo lay at my feet.  I crumpled it and tossed it the length of the hall to the trash pail. 

I opened the storm door and another great wind shoved me back.  I stumbled and landed on the floor facing the trash pail.  I tried to stand up and knocked over the pail.  The memo no longer crumpled fluttered to my feet.  I picked it up and studied it for a minute.  Someone had a strange sense of humor, a memo from God, really.  Crumpled again, it landed again, in the pail. 

I left expecting another gust but the air was still.  Everything was silent.  The usual traffic noises were muted. 

I walked the short distance to the bus stop to head for work.  I was usually the first on and last off.  Number 16 waited for the morning run.  I dropped my fare in the box.  Today’s driver was a stranger, an older man who looked at me with an air of disapproval.  I walked the length of the bus to my usual last seat.  There was the memo. Slightly crumpled but very much the same memo I had trashed.  This joke was getting out of hand.  I stormed to the front to confront the driver. He was the only one here.  He must have a hand in this.  I was about to say something but this was my regular driver.

“Where did the other guy go?”

He looked confused.

“I was around back; you were the only one here.”

I crumpled the memo again, and tossed it away, again.

It was a long boring ride.  I sat and watched the parade of unknown faces climb on and off the bus.  The regulars acknowledged each other sometimes, and at other times were ambivalent about their greetings.

Finally at the end of the route the last few of us exited.  The bus waited; empty, for its return trip and another load of humanity.

I headed first for the convenience store to grab another coffee.  An old man held the door, he looked like the  - - - nah, I needed another coffee. I was seeing things.

I reached in my jacket for change.  Instead of money I felt a crumpled paper.  I unfolded it.  The memo.  I spun to see the old man tip his hat as he disappeared around the corner.

I bolted outside, the tracks in the fresh snow led down a lane and stopped. 

I yelled.  “This is not funny.  What the Hell is going on?”

With that, an overhang of snow dumped on me.

I swore, “J - - -  C - - -.”

“Stephen, what did your mother tell you about talking like that?”  The voice was ominous sounding.

“Who the Hell are you?”

More snow crashed down but this time not a flake landed on me.  I stood inside a ring of snow,

The voice came again.  “You got my note.  When will you start?”

“You sent this?  How did you get in my home?”

The voice sounded frustrated.  “Stephen, do you not accept Me?”

The question was odd.  I had no answer.

“But it is blank, I don’t see anything to do.”

“Look around you, are there not things to be done today?  You disappoint me.  I thought you would understand.”

I looked down at the Memo still in my hand.  The paper was crisp and fresh.

It read:

From the desk of God
To: Stephen
Things you should do today
It was simply initialed with a flourishing G.  Other than that, the paper was blank.


1970 – Queen Elizabeth II turns the sod for St. Jude’s Cathedral

1972 – First constituted Synod of the Diocese of the Arctic and Consecration of St. Jude’s Cathedral.

1974 – Consecration of Rev. John R. Sperry as third Bishop of the Arctic at St. Jude’s

1978 – First visit of an Archbishop of Canterbury to the Diocese and 400th Anniversary of the first recorded celebration of the Holy Communion according to the Anglican rite in North America.

1979 – Consecration of Archdeacon J.C.M. Clarke as Bishop Suffragan of The Arctic in St. Jude’s Cathedral

1987 – Consecration of Archdeacon J.C. Williams as Bishop Suffragan of The Arctic in St. Jude’s Cathedral

1991 – Installation of Bishop J.C. Williams as Fourth Bishop of the Arctic at St. Jude’s Cathedral

1993 – Consecration of Canon T.O. Buckle as Bishop Suffragan of The Arctic in St. Jude’s Cathedral

1994 – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit Iqaluit and St. Jude’s Cathedral.

1996 - Consecration of Rev. Paul Idlout as Bishop Suffragan of The Arctic in St. Jude’s Cathedral. Paul is the first Inuk Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada. David Marsh presented his father’s Episcopal ring to Bishop Paul. Bishop Marsh’s ring is to be handed on by each Inuk bishop to his or her successor.

1997 – On April 20 Bishop Williams and Bishop Idlout joined the congregation in a service celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the consecration of St. Jude’s Cathedral. The narwhal tusk cross, which has been removed in a failed robbery attempt, has been restored, placing it on a new natural wood background and the sealskin runner before the altar rail has been replaced by a fabric one. The community of Iqaluit has grown to such a size that the Vestry has to look at possibilities for increasing the seating in the cathedral and several possibilities are being considered.

1999 - Consecration of Rev. Andrew Atagotaaluk and Rev. Larry Robertson as Regional Bishops of The Arctic in St. Jude’s Cathedral. Members of the St. Jude’s choir participate in “Godspell” during the Nunavut celebrations.

2000 – Bilingual service of ordination to the priesthood for Deacon Methuselah Kunuk and Deacon Mike Ferris. Both have been giving invaluable help to the Cathedral parish despite the fact that they have very senior positions with the Government of Nunavut.

2002 - Consecration of Canon Benjamin Arreak as Regional Bishop of The Arctic in St. Jude’s Cathedral. Installation of Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk as Fifth Bishop of The Arctic. Bishop Atagotaaluk is the first Inuk and first Canadian Bishop of the Diocese of the Arctic.

2003 – “Snowdrift” expansion to St. Jude’s is approved by the Bishop and Executive of the Diocese. A service for the newly elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of Nunavut was held at St. Jude’s.

2004 – Fundraising for the expansion kicked off at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa.

2005 – St. Jude’s is destroyed by arson. There now has to be a shift from expanding to replacing the cathedral.

2006 – A new fundraising campaign is begun. Letters and information are sent to all Anglican Bishops in Canada and all Primates in the Anglican Communion seeking their support for the campaign. A new yet similar design is chosen for the new St. Jude’s – it will remain an igloo shape.

2012 - The new St. Jude's Cathedral is dedicated on June 3.

Crest with Color.jpg

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The Diocese of the Arctic is a registered charity (BN 13040-2019-RR0002)
Tax receipts will be issued for donations.