Original Research: Scholarly Voices

Anglican cathedrals and implicit religion: Softening the boundaries of sacred space through innovative events and installations

Ursula McKenna, Leslie J. Francis, Francis Stewart
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 4 | a7827 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i4.7827 | © 2022 Ursula McKenna, Leslie J. Francis, Francis Stewart | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 June 2022 | Published: 31 August 2022

About the author(s)

Ursula McKenna, World Religions and Education Research Unit, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, United Kingdom; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Leslie J. Francis, World Religions and Education Research Unit, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, United Kingdom; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; Centre for Educational Development Appraisal and Research, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
Francis Stewart, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa The Edward Bailey Centre for the Study of Implicit Religion, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, United Kingdom

Abstract

High profile (and controversial) events and installations, like the Helter-Skelter in Norwich and the Crazy Golf Bridges in Rochester, have drawn attention to innovation and public engagement within Anglican cathedrals. The present study contextualised these innovations both empirically and conceptually. The empirical framework draws on cathedral websites to chronicle the wide and diverse range of events and installations hosted by Anglican cathedrals in England and the Isle of Man between 2018 and 2022. The conceptual framework draws on Edward Bailey’s theory of implicit religion to classify and to explore these events and installations. Two insights from the theory of implicit religion emerged as of particular significance. First, the notion of implicit religion softens the boundaries between the sacred and the secular. This was exemplified by eight categories of events: scientific exhibitions, festivals, musical events, art exhibitions, theatre, markets, community events and installations. Second, the notion of implicit religion draws attention to the themes and activities that generate meaning and purpose. This was exemplified by seven themes: social justice and social conscience, violence and reconciliation, remembrance, migration and sanctuary, COVID-19 and lockdowns, personal well-being and nature and environment.

Contribution: Situated within the science of cathedral studies, this article identifies the range of innovative events and installations hosted by Anglican Cathedrals in England and the Isle of Man and assesses the significance of these events and installations through Edward Bailey’s lens of implicit religion, discussing first the softening of boundaries between the sacred and the secular and then the generation of meaning and purpose through the core themes raised by these events and installations.


Keywords

cathedral studies; implicit religion; websites; sacred space; secular activities

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1516
Total article views: 1354

 

Crossref Citations

1. The social value of music during the COVID-19 pandemic: exploring the benefits of online music participation for social capital, education, belonging and wellbeing
Simone Krüger Bridge
Journal of Beliefs & Values  vol: 44  issue: 4  first page: 517  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1080/13617672.2023.2263723