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UK Cathedrals Face a Financial Crisis

Ancient cathedrals in the UK are struggling to finance the growing costs of maintaining the old buildings.

The National Churches Trust revealed a 24% increase in applications for its grant programs in 2018 following changes to the Trust’s programs and less funding coming from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, reports Premier.

The funding of urgent repairs of church buildings remains a source of great concern. —Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust

“The funding of urgent repairs of church buildings remains a source of great concern,” said Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust.

“At a time when so many public buildings are closing and high streets are losing their shops, church buildings are places where people can meet, collaborate and build community, as well as continue to worship. That is why it is so important to keep them open and in good repair.”

March added that the Trust will continue to urge the government to include funding for church buildings in its new spending review in 2019.

To augment its monetary needs, historic cathedrals in the UK are devising ways to attract more people, reports Eternity News.

The Norwich Cathedral in Norfolk, east of England, installed a Helter Skelter ride inside the church to encourage people to see the building from different angles. The cathedral boasts of its Romanesque structure and intricately carved roof decoration called roof bosses. The 50-ft ride costs about $2.5 (£2) per person.

Meantime, Rochester Cathedral has built a mini-golf course as its amusement initiative this month. The nine-hole course has a bridge theme, which, according to Rachel Phillips, Canon for Mission and Growth at Rochester Cathedral, encourages guests to “reflect on the bridges that need to be built in their own lives and in our world today.

While many criticized these efforts, saying UK cathedrals are turning places of worship into tourist attractions, clerics argued that they hope these installations would draw in the crowds and would intrigue them into learning about God and Christianity.

“Could the playful presence of a Helter skelter help to open up conversations about the building, help open up conversations about God?” wrote the Canon Andy Bryant from Norwich Cathedral.

In a 2018 conference on cathedrals, Dame Fiona Reynolds, the Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, said “Although we all work together to avoid the line that ‘Cathedrals are under threat’… there is still a crisis. She added that, “There’s a constant, rolling, and growing need for money in cathedrals…We have a huge problem that each sticking plaster of money is helpful but doesn’t deal with the underlying issue…Current funding arrangements are, frankly, not secure enough.”

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