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Cathedrals and their Communities – the Faith Minister, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

December 15, 2018

This report concludes  that cathedrals were “in very safe hands” and appears to contradict the findings of the working group, which, while celebrating the sector, raise serious concerns about governance.

Among the recommendations of the working group is a call for more work on the ecclesiology of cathedrals. The “staggering” increase in visitor numbers — 37 per cent in the past ten years — is among the aspects celebrated in the report, which acknowledges cathedrals as a “success story”.

“These amazing places incorporate everything the Church of England aspires to be in its best moment,” Bishop Newman writes in his foreword.

Quotations:

The tour showed that cathedrals’ drive towards engaging with the whole community and their commitment to social justice is tied very clearly to the Christian faith. Faith made manifest in a huge number of projects to encourage social integration, to provide a roof and a meal for the homeless and to inspire young people to engage with their local history was, in our view, the most inspirational thing we saw on the tour.

Nurturing strong interfaith dialogue is perhaps one of the greatest roles cathedrals have in our communities today. Interfaith projects bring communities together to celebrate the things they have in common – often a love of sport, art or food. There were so many great examples of this along the way, from the Blackburn interfaith flower show to Norwich’s interfaith choir and the Chelmsford Cathedral and Chelmsford Mosque cricket match

At Durham Cathedral, the Bishop highlighted the Anglican Church’s commitment to helping refugees and, visiting Carlisle and Hereford Cathedrals, this dedication was evident. At Carlisle, the cathedral was excited to welcome their first Syrian refugee families to the city in partnership with the local authority and local community groups. In Hereford, we had a chance meeting with a refugee family visiting the cathedral to thank them for their support in providing English language lessons.

During 2016, more than ten million people visited Church of England cathedrals and Westminster Abbey.

We understand why some cathedrals have charging policies in place, but it is worth considering the example of Chester who did away with charging have reported increased profits since, or Durham Cathedral which has pledged to keep its main space free to enter. For lesser-known cathedrals, creating an active programme of events and training of staff and volunteers in welcoming people can bring more people through the door and increase income.

It is online here.

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