The Christ Church Cathedral restoration project and Major fundraising campaign are supported by community leaders who are dedicated to preserving our architectural heritage and who believe in the value of the music and of the social justice work done by cathedral volunteers. This week, retired social worker, professor and community builder Sheila Goldbloom tells us why she supports the campaign.
“I’m delighted I became involved,” she says. “Christ Church Cathedral is one of the major centres in Montreal. I encourage you to walk down and see how the building is used by such a wide variety of people. Experience how welcoming the people in the cathedral are.”
The major part of Mrs. Goldbloom’s professional career was in social work, which she also taught at McGill University. Her commitment to her field and to community development has been recognized by the titles of Member of the Order of Canada and of Chevalière de l’Ordre du Québec. Significantly, she has also been honoured by her peers of the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec, who awarded her the Prix Émerite 2016.
Cathedral welcomes everyone in need
Naturally, then, she appreciates the cathedral’s tradition of social service. “Everyone always knew,” she recalls, “that there was one place you could go to where you would be made welcome, no matter what your problem, faith or social status, and that was Christ Church Cathedral. And it still welcomes anyone in need.”
In fact, the cathedral’s red doors are open every day of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. People walk in looking for spiritual guidance, referral to a social service, a listening ear or just peace and quiet.
A project for all Montreal
Mrs. Goldbloom also values the building that houses these services and commitments, because it provides them a home to work from. Also, because of its historic importance. “I feel strongly that the cathedral building is a big piece of history and I would like to see it preserved. There aren’t many buildings left in Montreal with that kind of historic background. I think the restoration should be a project for all Montreal.”
A life of community service
Mrs. Goldbloom herself has played a significant part in our history and continues to do so. After moving here from New York in 1949, she dedicated her life to local educational, social, philanthropic and government organizations. Among the dozens of organizations she has served are the Jewish Junior Welfare League, Federation CJA, The YWCA, Batshaw Youth Services and Centraide. In fact, as Chair of the Red Feather Agency at the time it became part of Centraide, she found herself the advocate for the Protestant social agencies!
“I’ve been privileged to have been a part of many different sectors of the community,” she says. “It increased my understanding and enriched my teaching.”
The importance of Interfaith dialogue
Working with different professions—and different faith groups as well—is important to her. “What people need to understand is that interfaith dialogue makes you stronger in your own faith.”
She particularly appreciates the cathedral’s active role in the creation of Wallenberg Square in the garden behind it. Inaugurated in 1995, the square includes a bust and plaque in honour of Raoul Wallenberg, whose actions saved more Jews during W.W. II than any single government. “The creation of Wallenberg Square showed the congregation’s sincerity in opening windows to other faiths,” notes Mrs. Goldbloom. “It is these positive actions that help to create peace.”
Her late husband shared her convictions and joined her on the Christ Church Cathedral campaign cabinet. Dr. Victor Goldbloom, C.C., O. Q., headed up the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews in the 1980s, and later became Canada’s Commissioner for Official Languages. The well-known pediatrician, lecturer and politician passed away in 2016. Mrs. Goldbloom kindly agreed to stay on as Honorary Co-Chair after his death. Christ Church Cathedral is very fortunate to count her among the supporters of the Major Fundraising Campaign and salutes her for her tireless work to make Montreal a more human place with a healthy respect for its past.
Follow Mrs. Goldbloom’s lead: Support the restoration of our beautiful cathedral
Of the funds raised by the campaign, $7,470,000 will go to repair the spire, restore the masonry and architectural elements, and upgrade the church interior. Please consider building the future through this gift to the coming generations. Click here and donate what you can. Big or small, every donation counts!
Have a Say
Do you have special gifts you share with the cathedral community? Have you found solace inside the cathedral and friendship among the members of the congregation? We are interested in hearing your personal story involving Montreal’s Christ Church Cathedral and would like to share it with our readers. Please contact us at Campaign.Communications@montrealcathedral.ca
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