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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422


MCKENNA, Ursula; FRANCIS, Leslie J.  and  STEWART, Francis. Anglican cathedrals and implicit religion: Softening the boundaries of sacred space through innovative events and installations. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2022, vol.78, n.4, pp.1-11. ISSN 2072-8050.

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.

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