Our AGM will be held on Wednesday 22 April at 6.30pm followed by the annual lecture at 7pm. Venue – St Alban’s Centre, Leigh Place, Baldwin’s Gardens, Holborn, London EC1N 7AB.
Becky Clark, Director of Churches & Cathedrals on the Archbishops’ Council, will talk on “Do you even know what fun is? The Challenges of English Cathedrals in the 21st Century”.
England’s 42 Anglican cathedrals buck almost every trend in the Church of England; growing congregations, year-on-year increases in visitors, and an international profile. Lonely Planet named England the second best place to visit in the world in 2020 due to its “timeless treasures”, with specific mention of its castles and cathedrals. Their general appeal is undoubted, but we continue to try to understand exactly what it means for the wider mission to grow the Church. In 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury told a national conference “If you can’t have fun in a cathedral, do you even know what fun is?” In 2019 the summer press was filled with helter-skelters, labyrinths, and mini-golf. Is this the ‘fun’ the Archbishop commends? And is ‘fun’ the right thing to be aiming for?
Looking at the contemporary challenges of a public largely lacking in ecclesiastical or religious knowledge, drawing in theological and secular theories of participation and community, this talk will invite discussion of what being ‘the seat of the bishop and a centre for worship and mission’ entails in 2020, and ask where the boundaries of public appeal may lie.
Advance notice – EcclSoc 2020 Conference – Saturday 3 October. The theme will be ‘The Lay Experience of the Medieval Cathedral’. Details to follow.
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