Bishop to preach atop Norwich “helter-skelter”

Jonathan Meyrick to ride the chute to the ground after his sermon

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The Bishop of Lynn has announced that he will preach next Sunday from atop the “helter-skelter” installed in Norwich Cathedral. The Eastern Daily Press reports that at a dedication of a clerestory window at St Agnes Church in Clawson this past Sunday, the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Meyrick said he had asked the dean, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, if he might preach his scheduled August 18 sermon from atop the 50 ft tall amusement park ride that has been set up inside the cathedral.

At the conclusion of his sermon the bishop is expected to descend the slide to the ground to rejoin the congregation, but is not expected to have to pay the £2 fee.

Bishop Meyrick, the Daily Press reported, was not embarrassed by the controversy surrounding the decision to set up a fairground amusement ride inside a cathedral, stating: “In fact, I insisted on her agreeing that I could preach from the helter skelter.”

The bishop told the congregation the installation of a circus ride would enable visitors to have a closer view of the carved roof bosses in the cathedral and struck by such magnificence would be converted to the faith. The project entitled Seeing it Differently will take place at Norwich Cathedral from 8 to 18 August 2019.

The decision by the cathedral chapter to install the helter-skelter as an evangelism outreach tool has not generated the sort of publicity expected, with the secular press ridiculing the move as a stunt. Anglican Unscripted’s Dr Gavin Ashenden raised objections on aesthetic and theological grounds.

Speaking on Anglican Unscripted last week Dr. Ashenden said the “naff” carnival ride displayed “some very impoverished theological conclusions” from the cathedral clergy.

“Their understanding of God, their understanding of who Jesus is, their understanding of the Kingdom, is so far away, I think, from radical, traditional Christianity, which takes evil seriously, believes in Heaven and Hell, knows that people have to be reborn and must be saved. This is completely off their map. What they are doing is spirituality — they’re doing moral, therapeutic deism … They’re not doing Christianity.”