Mini-golf inside a church? Hold my Holy wine.
Those visiting Norwich Cathedral in the U.K. will now be able to slide down a 50-foot helter-skelter fairground ride that is supposed to help visitors “see themselves, the building and God differently.”
Part of the medieval church’s “Seeing It Differently” project, the helter-skelter was installed in the nave, or central part of the church building, with the aim “to give people the chance to experience the Cathedral in an entirely new way and open up conversations about faith.”
The Rev. Canon Andy Bryan told the Telegraph that he was inspired to install the helter-skelter after visiting the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy.
“The fun comes in the shape of a helter-skelter,” he said. “The serious comes in creating opportunities for reflective, God-shaped conversations. It is playful in its intent but also profoundly missional.”
The church shared a time-lapse video of its construction on Twitter.
“Wow. It is here. And it is big! Very BIG,” they wrote.
The first person in the queue to slide down was Jane Hedges, the Dean of Norwich.
It will run from August 8 through August 18.
The helter-skelter installation comes at the same time as Rochester Cathedral – the second-old cathedral in England – installed a “bridge-themed” mini-golf course as an “innovative” way to attract more visitors.
Not everyone is thrilled with the additions to the cathedrals.
The Right Rev. Dr. Gavin Ashenden, the former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, criticized Norwich Cathedral of making a “mockery” of God.
“Instead of allowing a Cathedral to act as a bridge between people and God’s presence, instead it obscures it by offering to entertain and divert people,” he told the Telegraph.
Religious commentator Tim Stanley called the golf course and the helter-skelter “an act of desecration” that was “making Christianity look ridiculous.”
“To paraphrase: ‘it will attract people who would never normally go to the church.’ Yes dear, and they’ll never come back. Because what you’re offering the visitor isn’t Christianity, it’s an afternoon’s distraction, so what would make them want to return at 10 am on a Sunday morning?” he wrote in the Telegraph. “Unless you’re planning to replace Holy Communion with tango lessons, you’ll never see these feckless punters ever again.”