Restorative Glory: St. Mary’s Cathedral

If you’ve driven down Poplar Avenue toward downtown Memphis in the last couple of months, you’ve probably noticed bright blue construction fencing across the front of the Cathedral and Diocesan House. What’s going on you might have asked?

If you have visited St. Mary’s in the last few years, you have noticed peeling paint and plaster on the ceiling of the nave. This condition was the result of a severe leak in the bell tower roof in combination with excess condensation from the air conditioning system. A Cathedral restoration project began in January 2023 under the direction of Hord Architects and Linkous Construction, and repair work is now underway.

We are not closed down. During restoration, we are worshipping in the Sisters Chapel. This beautiful, intimate space is the oldest building on our campus, constructed in 1888.

As a result of dedicated bequests over the years, and especially several generous gifts in 2022, the project has virtually full funding to complete the work. As we await a final bequest to work through probate, the Diocese, on recommendation of the Finance Committee and approval by Bishop & Council, has agreed to bridge any needed funding pending receipt of that gift. We are eternally grateful for this faith shown by the Diocese in support of the Cathedral for The Diocese of West Tennessee.

An additional aspect of the project is the removal and protection of all the organ pipes and equipment during construction, and then cleaning, reinstalling and retuning the organ at completion. This aspect was not a part of the original scope of work, and we hope to be able to fund this project separately.

Since 1858, St. Mary’s has been “A House of Prayer for All People.” It is who we are.

If you feel so inclined, we invite you to support these restoration projects in any manner, large or small. Donate at or mail to 692 Poplar Ave., Memphis TN 38105, with your designation for Building Fund or Organ Fund.

Mark your calendar for September 9, 2023. At 5 p.m., we will rededicate St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. More information to come!

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