National Cathedral closed through September 4

WTOP-TV reports that the building, damaged in the earthquake on Tuesday, will remain closed through the duration of Hurricane Irene, as it is sweeps over the District this weekend, and afterwards to check on structural issues.

Washington National Cathedral officials are establishing a perimeter around the building to protect the public in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.

Engineers and stone masons are continuing damage assessments in the wake of Tuesday’s earthquake, which caused significant damage at the cathedral. Three of the four spires on the central tower broke off, and there are major cracks in the flying buttresses at the cathedral’s east end.

Cathedral officials say in a news release that fencing and protective perimeters will be installed by the weekend to protect staff and the public and to secure the grounds. But officials stress that they haven’t found any additional damage and that the building remains structurally sound.

The cathedral will remain closed at least through Sept. 4.

Episcopal News Service reports:

“Out of an abundance of caution,” Washington National Cathedral officials said Aug. 25 that the building will remain closed at least through Sept. 4.

The closure is due to both the effects of the Aug. 23 magnitude 5.8 earthquake and the potential effects of Hurricane Irene, according to a press release. The hurricane is expected to hit the mid-Atlantic sometime between Aug. 26 and 28.

Cathedral staff is also taking preliminary steps to secure a perimeter around the building and the damage incurred from the earthquake, as engineers and stone masons continue assessments, the release said.

In place of the cathedral’s regular four Sunday worship services, a service of Holy Eucharist will be held at Washington Hebrew Congregation at 11:15 a.m. on Aug. 28 and Sept. 4.

“As a living community of faith, we regret very much not being able to open for services this coming Sunday, but the need to take every measure to ensure safety and to mitigate the effects of any further damage from storm weather are our first priorities at this time,” said Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III in the release. “Rest assured that our team is exploring every possibility in securing the grounds and has told us to practice an abundance of precaution so that the Cathedral can soon welcome visitors and worshipers again in a safe, sacred setting. We are thankful to Washington Hebrew Congregation and Rabbi Bruce Lustig for inviting us to hold services there for the next two Sundays.”

“A Call to Compassion,” the cathedral’s programs to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks is expected to move forward as planned.

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