England, Rochester Cathedral hosts a miniature golf course inside for a month

From August 1 to September 1, 2019, Rochester Cathedral in England will welcome a miniature golf course in the nave.

In England, Rochester Cathedral, one of the country’s most important Gothic monuments, has been temporarily transformed into a miniature golf course: holes, complete with synthetic grass, have been installed in the building’s central nave. The initiative is intended to achieve several goals: to counter declining interest in religion, to bring the church to life, to spread knowledge in the area of cultural heritage (the holes of the miniature golf course in fact reproduce monuments, particularly bridges, found scattered throughout the territory of the United Kingdom), and to send a message of tolerance (bridges are also a metaphor for dialogue).

The minigolf course consists of nine holes, was built by the company HM Adventure Golf, and the costs were entirely borne by the Rochester Bridge Trust, a nonprofit organization that protects the English city’s bridges, which cross the Medway River. The initiative will run from August 1 to September 1, 2019, and everyone will have the opportunity to play for free.

“For more than 1,400 years, Rochester Cathedral has served as a center of learning for the community,” Rachel Philips, presbytery for missions and growth at the Cathedral, said in a note. “With the temporary installation of an instructional miniature golf course, we want to continue this mission, giving people the opportunity to learn while taking part in a fun activity, inside what for many may be a building they have never visited before.” The bridges, Philips explains, also represent the “historic connections between the Cathedral and its community-we hope that by playing miniature golf, visitors will reflect on the bridges that need to be built in our lives and in the world today.”

“We are always looking for new ways to engage young people and push them to take an interest in bridges and civil engineering,” said Andrew Freeman, operations manager of the Rochester Bridge Trust. “By joining forces with the Cathedral to put on this educational activity in such an amazing venue, we have created an ideal opportunity to reach out to the community and get families and young people thinking about bridges while having fun. Learning through play is at the heart of many of our educational initiatives, so we introduce new concepts and ideas to young people when they are not in a school setting.”

Of the same opinion is the Cathedral’s canon, Matthew Rushton, who told the Euronews website that “the Archbishop of Canterbury recently said that if you don’t have fun in a cathedral then you don’t know what fun is. And he is absolutely right! So, this initiative in part has to do with having fun inside a cathedral, moreover getting people who have never been there before to come and visit. But it also has an educational purpose.”

Rochester Cathedral is, by foundation, the second oldest in England (it comes after Canterbury Cathedral), since it was founded in the year 604 by Bishop Justus. However, the present construction dates back to the 11th century (the foundation stone was laid in 1083 and the cathedral was consecrated in 1130): built in Norman forms, it was remodeled during the 13th century when several elements in the Gothic style were added (in particular, it was in the 1440s that the transept was added). The facade, on the other hand, represents one of the most interesting examples of Romanesque in all of England.

England, Rochester Cathedral hosts a miniature golf course inside for a month
England, Rochester Cathedral hosts a miniature golf course inside for a month

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