Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Helter skelter in Norwich Cathedral accused of 'making mockery of God'

Fri 09 Aug 2019
By Cara Bentley

As Cathedrals install fun activities to draw people in, the loud circus slide at Norwich Cathedral gets criticism for being a step too far.

Rochester Cathedral in Kent opened its nine-hole crazy golf course to the public last month and Peterborough Cathedral is having a gin and prosecco festival - all as part of a bid to continue the success of Cathedral attendance in England, with their numbers growing in comparison to parish churches.

However, Norwich Cathedral has received accusations of being 'preoccupied with the demands of society' by building a 55ft helter skelter next to their impressive stained glass window.

Rt Dr Gavin Ashenden, former Chaplain to the Queen, told The Telegraph: "There's a sliding scale between mockery and blasphemy. It's a mockery because it's treating God like a tourist attraction, instead of as the creator of the universe who is going to hold us accountable for our ethical failures.



"It becomes blasphemy at the point where the cathedrals represent a long line of belief - much of which is martyred belief - people have paid with their lives to believe in Christ and a cathedral is the corporeal embodiment of Christ."

Canon librarian at Norwich Cathedral, Doctor Peter Doll told Premier before it was open: "Over the centuries they (cathedrals) have always rebuilt and adapted and use different means to reach out to new audiences so that they remain relevant to the life of the world around them.

"We're not doing it just as a gimmick to get people into the cathedral. We want to use it to give people an opportunity to engage with this wonderful building they have and the story that it has to tell which is the story of salvation. And in the case of our Cathedral, our most notable place where the story is told is in the roof bosses of the nave, which are gloriously painted 15th century carvings that tell the whole story of salvation from Creation to the Last Judgment in wonderfully lively details.



"Unfortunately, they're very high and hard for people to get access to so we want to use a helter skelter to get them close to some of the bosses but to use other means - an app that we have, which has the bosses on them - to help them to learn about the story that the bosses have to tell."

Dr Peter Doll added: "It's giving them the opportunity to encounter those stories and to in a creative way, in a new way that they don't expect and hope that that will be dropping seeds that will you know, continue to inspire and encourage people to question the life they live."


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