Cash-poor cathedral mulls selling treasures

Washington National Cathedral

Facing a reduced budget and a third round of layoffs, officials at Washington National Cathedral are considering disposing of priceless treasures—including a trove of rare books—that are no longer considered part of its central mission.

The cathedral has begun tentative talks with Washington’s Folger Shakespeare Library as it reorients itself as an Episcopal congregation, tourist landmark and promoter of interfaith dialogue.

The cathedral’s rare book library, which dates to 1964, can no longer be considered a “core function” in the current economic climate, said Kathleen Cox, the cathedral’s chief operating officer. “In tough times, you start having to pull away so you can make sure that worship continues,” she said. “So once that happens, you have to make sure that you are doing the best by those assets.”

 

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