Washington National Cathedral’s preservation needs more than $50 million

WASHINGTON (AP).- It’s where the nation’s capital gathers to mourn, to pray and to seek comfort during tragedies. Now the Washington National Cathedral needs help weathering its own financial emergency. The church has long been a spiritual center for the nation, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors and worshippers each year. It’s the burial site of President Woodrow Wilson and for Helen Keller. It’s hosted funeral services for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and other presidents. And during ordeals such as the Sept. 11 attacks, it’s been a place for interfaith reflection. But the Episcopal cathedral is facing one of the worst financial binds of its 105-year-old history. An earthquake in August severely damaged its intricate stone work and architecture, with repair costs estimated at $20 million. Aside from that damage, the structure faces $30 million in preexisting preservation needs. Even before the earthquake, a financial crisis forced