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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

June 6, 2014


My topic here is the upkeep of one thousand year old church cathedrals. How do you balance the monetary needs of the church parish and the spiritual needs of a much less religious/secular 21st Century people?

Case in point, I am traveling in England right now visiting a different cathedral each day in cities away from London. (I'll be in London soon). This week, the average age of the cathedrals which I visited is around one thousand years old. Can you imagine that? I can't, and I've spent a lot of time in those old Houses of God. 

In Lincoln, I entered early and went back to the ticket taker later and paid. In York, you would have an easier time of sneaking into a Buckeye football game than into the cathedral. Both Hereford and Gloucester simply had signs to donate at least a British Pound.

That's it.

That's IT??!

If I were Hereford and Gloucester, I would set up a ticket desk and charge a set amount. Their sign says that it costs 6000 British Pounds per day (per day!) for upkeep! That's.....60,000 pounds per 10 days....600,000 or (1 million dollars) pounds every 100 days. Do the math....about $3.5 million per year. Hmmmm, I'm sure that does not include major unexpected roofing expenses. And if you have a roofing problem, the scaffolding or the sky lifts must be enormous expenses.

Who pays for all that? Does Bill Gates worship in these cathedrals? Do the meagre faithful donate meagerly or generously? I have no answers here either. It's just that sometimes the business-side of cathedral life intrudes upon the faith/beauty-side of cathedral life.

And if that is not enough to think about, consider that the cathedrals in these ancient though now modern towns are often THE MAJOR tourist draw. This means the B&B folks, the charming restaurants, and the cute shops are dependent upon the tourist draw of the cathedrals. And there are the food suppliers, the stone masons who ply their ancient craft and in Lincoln, they employ a staff of 100 for the cathedral itself.

I still love the flying buttresses and cloisters and hearing Evensong, but sometimes I get practical.

It's still worth the journey.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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